Private companies with unresolved disputes with ministries and public entities could unleash law suits on Auditor-General Mrs Mildred Chiri if she identified them in her 2019 annual report, Mrs Chiri told Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee yesterday.
When the committee asked her why she had not named the companies, she replied: “This was done to minimise the risk of potential litigation. There have been come backs from some of our suppliers in the past.
“Normally when you name and shame organisations in public documents like our annual reports, you must have evidence that is water tight and sustainable at law. This requires the auditor to get information from the other party, which is the supplier, and that requires time,” she said.
Mrs Chiri said such information could only be obtained through specialised audits like forensic audits which required time.
But she noted that the Public Accounts Committee itself could get the details of the suppliers from concerned ministries and then carry out its own investigations.
Going into her overview of the report, Mrs Chiri said the audit exposed a number of anomalies in some ministries including unsupported expenditure, appropriation accounts variances, uncollected revenue, missing documents, inadequate oversight of their audit committee, operating without procurement committees, and non-delivery of vehicles.
She also discovered that some funds for public sector investment projects were operating without appropriate constitutions and without accounting procedures, while some were lagging behind on implementation of gender policies.
Inadequate resources for her office meant that site visits to provinces were curtailed, with audits being conducted in Harare.
The compilation of the annual report for last year had been delayed by the lockdowns experienced since last year over Covid-19.