05 Aug 2014 15:40pm
WINDHOEK, 05 AUG (NAMPA) - Most village councils operate with poor paper filing systems and without financial or fleet policies in place, the Deputy Director of the Internal Audit Division in the Ministry of Regional, Local Government and Housing says.
Martin Ngubai said this in the capital on Monday, at the start of a two-day stakeholders briefing session for local authorities, while speaking about the challenges financial auditors encounter when visiting village councils for the auditing of their financial statements.
He indicated that most village councils' Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) are responsible for banking the councils money. They apparently claim subsistence and travel allowances for the average of three days it takes them to go to the nearest town to deposit the money.
When auditing teams travel to village councils some CEOs are not in their offices for about three days because they have travelled to town to deposit money, he said.
Ngubai also alleged that most village councils have unqualified and incompetent staff, especially the accountants who are responsible for preparing the council's financial statements.
He suggested that his ministry considers the recruitment of qualified staff who understand financial management, enable council staff to prepare the financial statements and assist them in getting paper filing systems in place.
Ngubai also suggested that the ministry should consider upgrading the salary structure of village councils to attract suitable persons for critical positions.
Meanwhile, the representatives of various village councils attending the briefing session were unhappy with some of the financial auditors from the Office of the Auditor-General as they say they visit the village councils for auditing and leave without discussing the problems they came across with them.
Koes Village Council CEO Reinhardt Ochs urged the auditors to spend some time with the village council staff in order to advise them and give them recommendations on their financial status.
The auditors must have time to engage and brief us at the end of the auditing process. The Auditor-General report should not come as a surprise to us. We need to iron out the pertinent issues during the auditing process, Ochs said.
He stressed that village councils' accountants and CEOs need training on financial management which should include budgeting, accounting and information on paper filing systems for them to understand the Auditor-Generals reports.
The village councils taking part in the session include the Berseba, Bethanie, Gibeon, Kamanjab, Leonardville, Maltahöhe and the Tses Village Councils.
The session was set to end on Tuesday.