CAG's Report reveals flaws in public spending

Tuesday April 7 2020

Controller and auditor general (CAG), Charles

Controller and auditor general (CAG), Charles Kichere, 

By Alawi Masare @AMasare malawi@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. The government controller and auditor general (CAG), Charles Kichere, yesterday revealed flaws in government and its institutions as he put in the public domain the annual audit reports which were also tabled in Parliament.

The rot detailed in the reports includes - but is not limited to - misuse of public resources by making overpayments, payments without contract, payments without actual delivery of servicea or goods, generally disregarding laid-down public procurement guidelines.

Mr Kichere presented the reports covering general and performance audits to President John Magufuli on March 26 and the government tabled the reports in the National Assembly in Dodoma yesterday as required by the law.

After tabling the reports in the august House, the reports were then made public. In the event, Mr Kichere briefed the media in Dodoma, saying that audit recommendations issued in previous years were being worked on by the government.

He said 31 percent of the recommendations were implemented during the 2018/19 financial year, up from 22.9 percent in the previous year. However, he stressed that the pace was not good enough.

“There’s a performance increase in percentage terms; but the pace isn’t satisfactory. 266 recommendations were issued but only 82 were implemented,” he lamented.

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The reports cover central government, local authorities, parastatals, development projects and other specialized audits.

Central government

Mr Kichere said his office found that the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) had outstanding cases of tax appeals amounting to Sh366.03 trillion which are awaiting decisions.

The government should improve performance of the tax appeals organs by releasing adequate funds to enable them hold timely hearings and conclude tax cases.

He also said his office discovered that Sh1.5 billion was advanced to a contractor while the construction of four courts had not started. That is part of the Sh10.4 billion project to constructi 16 courts in Tanzania.

The CAG also raised concerns on Tanzania’s diplomatic missions abroad, saying they misuse public funds by renting premises instead of refurbishing dilapidated houses that were purchased by the government.

Sh1.02 billion was paid in rents. Also, five diplomatic missions paid Sh645.07 million without documents to support the payments.

On political parties which receive subventions from the government, he raised concerns on the opposition CUF and the ruling party CCM. CUF is accused of messing with cash received in subventions, while CCM is accused of illegally evicting a tenant in one of its premises and had to pay Sh60 million as lcompensation for unlawful eviction.

Local governments

Mr Kichere also said that Sh17.41 billion planned for development expenditure in the local governments was not delivered during the 2018/19 financial year.

A total of Sh109.44 billion was also collected by 60 local government authorities in Tanzania out of which Sh43.78 billion was meant to be channeled towards development projects. However, it was only Sh26.37 billion that was actually spent on development.

“There are also some signs of fraud involving Sh1.2 billion which require extra investigation,” he said.

He said 19 local government authorities failed to implement their development projects worth Sh24.70 billion after failing to receive funds from the central government. Similarly, 12 local government authorities failed to implement development projects worth Sh1.27 billion despite the funds for the projects being available.

Projects worth Sh77.71 billion were not implemented in 81 local government authorities due to a number of factors including poor management and lack of funds among others.

Projects worth Sh12.66 billion have been completed but not yet put to use in 33 local government authorities. Twenty-seven local government authorities ordered the purchase of good and products worth Sh1.09 billion but the goods were not delivered.

Some Sh3.58 billion from five local government authorities was paid to contractors without showing the actual project value. “Basically, after a project is done, you need to sit down and evaluate the project in line with the value for money before it is paid,” he added.

A total of 14 local government authorities used Point of Sales (PoS) that are not registered by the government’s revenue collection system. But the PoS do collect government revenue. Similarly, Sh10.39 billion that was collected by local government authorities was not banked.

Parastatals

The reports hinted on the state entities which are accused of misusing the public funds. For instance, three entities were said to have paid Sh829.45 million to people who were no longer working for them.

TTCL also lost Sh1.11 billion through its roaming contract with Mic Tanzania Limited, which trades as Tigo.

In an effort to extend services, TTCL buys bundles which it then sells to its clients. TTCL sells 1GB at Sh1,500 while it buys the same at Sh2,500.

The audit reports also accuse some state entities of paying six percent of salaries of their workers as contributions to health insurance (NHIF), instead of deducting only three percent from workers - and topping that up by another three percent.