BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
AUDITOR-GENERAL Mildred Chiri yesterday said her 2019 audit reports did not name and shame companies engaged in financial maladministration due to time constraints as this would have needed undisputed evidence.
Chiri said this when she appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to give oral evidence on audit reports for the year ended December 31, 2019.
In her previous audit reports, Chiri named and shamed individuals and companies that abused public resources.
“The approach of naming companies and suppliers was not done in order to manage the risk that is associated with potential litigations,” Chiri said.
“Normally when you name and shame individuals in an annual report, you should have evidence that is watertight and can be sustainable. This requires the auditors to also get evidence to the other parties, that is, the suppliers and this takes time.”
She said in previous audits, there had been comebacks from suppliers.
“With regards to the 2019 audit reports, we are already late and are long past the statutory deadline to produce them because such interrogation requires to be done in the context of an investigative special audit like a forensic audit,” she said.
“When you do the forensic audit, you have to leave no doubt that whatever you come up with is above board.
“With the time we had in 2019, we could not afford to do that and finish the work on time because the financial audit takes some time, and auditors need all the necessary information so that they are not found wanting at law.
“My office has these names which will be availed to the PAC as far as the ministries that we audited. We can dish out all the information, but when it comes to suppliers, this is when we have the challenges,” she said.
The Auditor-General said most stakeholders had complained that the annual reports were too voluminous.
She said they appealed for s reduction in the size of audit reports.
“In order to address this request, we have decided to have two volumes of the report with one containing arrear fund accounts, and the other containing appropriation accounts,” Chiri said.