Parliament wants Munesushe Munodawafa censured

Source: Parliament wants Munesushe Munodawafa censured | The Financial Gazette July 6, 2017

THE Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Accounts (PAC) has moved a motion to censure former Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development permanent secretary, Munesushe Munodawafa, for failing to comply with the Public Finance Management Act.

The PAC reported that Munodawafa, who was recently moved to the Mines and Mining Development in the same capacity, had allowed large transactions to be made without supporting documents.

After an inquiry into four statutory funds administered by the ministry, the PAC said the ministry was lagging behind in terms of reporting on funds in violation of the Public Finance Management Act (Chapter 22:19) which requires government ministries to prepare and submit financial statements for funds within three months of the end of a financial year.

The four funds are the Department of Roads Fund, the New Limpopo Bridge Fund, New Vehicle Number Plate Revolving Fund, and the Traffic and Legislation Fund,
PAC noted during its investigation that Munodawafa had been reluctant to follow proper procedures by unilaterally moving funds from one project to another without securing Treasury approval.
It also raised suspicions that some of the projects funded by Treasury between 2014 and 2015 had their values distorted through mis-stating of expenditures.

“This points to a culture of non-accountability and a general lack of specific sanctions for failure to meet statutory deadlines on the submission of financial statements for audit. Without following proper budgetary processes, State funds may be directed at unintended purposes resulting in missing national priorities,” reads the PAC report presented to the National Assembly by committee chairperson, Paurina Mpariwa.

“The committee recommends that the Civil Service Commission, the appointing authority, should by 31st August, 2017, issue a stern warning against Mr Munodawafa, the then permanent secretary for the ministry, for failing to seek Treasury approval for moving funds on projects approved by Parliament and disguising expenditure under different projects,” the committee said.
Munodawafa is also accused of disrespecting Auditor General, Mildred Chiri’s 2014 and 2015 annual audit reports by failing to implement her recommendations.

Chiri’s reports had accused the ministry of failing to account for huge sums of money under its custody.
“The committee is also concerned that the then accounting officer for the ministry, Mr Munodawafa, did not take audit seriously as audit recommendations made in the 2014 and 2015 annual audit report were not implemented.

“The attitude of the permanent secretary, as the accounting officer in respect to audit issues, makes a mockery of the office of the Auditor General. This has been displayed in the manner he has responded to audit observations which did not tackle the issues at hand. To say the least, the permanent secretary had shown disregard for the work of the audit office as similar issues are raised year after year without corrective action being taken. He had also shown disregard for laid down policies and procedures as he was not apologetic for violating constitutions of funds under the ministry,” PAC said.
The PAC report indicates that while Munodawafa conceded to the audit observations, he, however, blamed the manual recording system in the provinces for the anomalies.

For example, in relation to the $400 378 released by Treasury in 2014 for rehabilitation of the Harare-Mutare road that was diverted to settle outstanding invoices for other projects which had no allocation under that year’s budget, the PAC report said Munodawafa indicated that the diversion of funds to other projects was in response to litigations instigated by contractors.

Legislators took turns to criticise Munodawafa following Mpariwa’s presentation of the report.
“The principal problem at the ministry was the attitude of the permanent secretary. He certainly did not cover himself with glory in his presentations to the committee when he appeared before us,” said Bulawayo South legislator, Eddie Cross while contributing to the motion.
Cross is a member of Mpariwa’s committee.

Chegutu West legislator, Dexter Nduna, said the Parliamentary Portfolio on Committee on Transport and Infrastructural Development, which he chairs, had also carried out an investigation into operations of parastatals that fall under the ministry and would soon table its own report.
“A report from my committee is on its way to this House,” Nduna said.
Debate on the motion will proceed when Parliament resumes sitting on July 18.