Defence rubbishes newspaper report on overspending

26 Sep 2018 15:50pm
WINDHOEK, 26 SEP (NAMPA) – The Ministry of Defence has dismissed assertions in a recent local newspaper report that it was unable to explain the use of N.dollars 138 million allocated to it.
This, according to the media report, emanated from N.dollars 198 million the ministry paid for maintenance parts of military aircraft in 2017.
The report, which was based on the ministry’s audit report for the 2017/18 financial period as submitted to Parliament by the Office of the Auditor General, claimed that the audit could only verify N.dollars 60 million from the expenditure vouchers presented for audit purposes.
This resulted in an unexplained difference of N.dollars 138 million from its total budget allocation, the newspaper reported.
The Ministry of Defence’s Permanent Secretary, Peter Vilho in a media statement on Wednesday explained that the correct expenditure incurred by the ministry for the maintenance of the aircraft actually amounts to N.dollars 230 037 318, exceeding the previously reported amount of N.dollars 198 084 909.17.
He said the reason for the difference is that foreign currency payments take time to process through the Ministry of Finance, Bank of Namibia and the respective international corresponding banks.
The permanent secretary noted that the Office of the Auditor-General was informed that the ministry can make all expenditure vouchers available for verification and auditing for the amount of N.dollars 230 037 318 and a list of the transactions was attached to the ministry’s responses dated 06 April 2018.
Vilho said the ministry also did not agree with the finding of the auditor with regards to the number of sub-divisions and amounts considered as unauthorised expenditure.
He said this was due to the differences between various general ledger reports, which was also reported to the Ministry of Finance on 31 March 2018, on which no action was taken.
According to the newspaper report, the ministry also failed to reveal a donation of vehicles it received from the German Armed Forces Technical Advisory Group worth N.dollars 1.7 million.
The ministry also dismissed this as incorrect.
“The vehicles and equipment received as a donation, valued at N.dollars 1 372 998.10 was reported during the 2015/16 financial year, and of which treasury approval was granted on 11 February 2016 and was attached as Annex E to the response of the Ministry of Defence dated 06 April 2018,” the PS stated.
However, the Ministry of Defence admitted that a Toyota minibus valued at N.dollars 378 735.51, and a tractor loader backhoe of which the value is unknown, was not included in the treasury authorisation request and also not reported, which was an oversight.
According to Vilho, the auditor agreed to some errors and stated that it was too late to withdraw the statements, hence the audit report was presented in Parliament.