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Road contractors overcharge govt by N$114m

21 September 2018 Author   Eliaser Ndeyanale
Contractors working on nine national roads have overcharged the Ministry of Works and Transport by a collective N$114 million, according to an Auditor-General report tabled in Parliament this week by Finance Minister, Calle Shlettwein.
The report is for the 2016/17 financial year.
Although there was no mention of the contractors who were awarded tenders for the construction and upgrade of the nine roads nationwide, the 23-page report shows that one of the projects was the construction of a gravel road from Ngoma to Nakabolewa in the Zambezi Region which was budgeted at N$82 million, but the ministry ended up paying N$104 million.
It’s not clear how long the road is.
Another project, the upgrading of the gravel road between Omuthiya- Onake Eenhana – Oshigambo to bitumen standard was allocated a budget of N$73 million, but it later increased to N$74.4 million.
The ministry also paid an extra N$687,312 for the Tsintsabis – Okatwitwi road upgrade to bitumen standard.
Auditor General, Junias Kandjeke, asked the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works and Transport, Willem Goeieman, to explain why they had incurred expenditures which were not included in the budget .
Kandjeke also wanted Goeieman to explain the construction of a gravel road from Endola to Eembo which the ministry had allocated N$870, 000, but ended up paying N$3.4 million.
The auditor-general pointed out further discrepancies.
He said that Goeieman did not provide an authorisation letter from the Ministry of Finance for the opening of the Trans Kalahari railway project bank account held at Standard Bank.
The permanent secretary also stands accused of not carrying out reconciliations as required by treasury instruction which according to Kandjeke might lead to fraudulent transactions not being detected timely or at all.
“Furthermore, the accounting officer (permanent secretary) did not provide bank statements of the Northern Railway Extension Fund bank account and MWT-TransNamib Holding LTD bank account as at 31 March 2017. However, the accounting officer reported closing balances of N$14,640.79 and N$100, respectively.”
Kandjeke said the non-submission of bank statements to verify the reported closing balances resulted in an audit scope limitation.
“It is recommended that the accounting officer should explain as to why treasury authorization to open and operate the bank account was not obtained and why monthly reconciliations for bank accounts were not carried out as required by treasury instruction.
“Furthermore, it is recommended that in future, the accounting officer should ensure that all documents requested for audit purposes are submitted,” he suggested.
The auditor general also uncovered that Goeieman reported an opening balance of 4,252 vehicles with a total value of N$1.46 billion as at 01 April 2016 which did not correspond to the balance as at 31 March 2016 as reflected on the motor vehicles statement from the Government Garage which was 4,091vehicles with a total value of N$871 million.
 “The difference of 161 vehicles with a value of N$590 million remained unexplained. It is recommended that the accounting officer should explain these differences,” Kandjeke said.
Queried about the matter, Goeieman referred this publication to the Deputy Director of Administration, Chris Mungandjela, who requested that questions be sent via e-mail.
He, however, did not respond to the e-mailed questions by the time of going to print.

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