Omaheke Regional Council spending millions on accounting firm

27 Feb 2019 16:20pm
WINDHOEK, 27 FEB (NAMPA) – The Omaheke Regional Council spends over N.dollars 4 million a year on an accounting firm despite having a fully fledged finance department.
This was revealed during a public hearing in which the National Council’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts and Economy in the capital on Monday grilled the council’s leadership.
The Omaheke Regional Council has amongst others been paying a monthly fee of N.dollars 160 000 for accounting services to Business Integrated Solutions, on top of paying for accommodation and other needs when employees of the company are rendering the services.
In the eyes of the committee, it is unfair that Government has to pay N.dollars 4 million and still pay salaries to accountants who “do nothing”.
The regional council has three accountants on its payroll.
While acknowledging the unfair burden on the State’s coffers, the payments made were justified by Chief Regional Officer, Maria Vaendwanawa.
She said had it not been for the firm, the regional council would have collapsed.
Vaendwanawa said her team of accountants were simply “salary collectors” for they “don’t know anything”.
The CRO earlier told the House that those on the regional council’s payroll cannot even do bank reconciliations, a basic requirement for professionally trained accountants.
The relationship between the consultant and the regional council dates back to 2010, when it was compiling the council’s financial statements.
The consultant would later start doing bank reconciliations for the Omaheke Regional Council which its “internal finance department failed to do”.
“But in 2015, especially when they uncovered irregularities (graft, abuses and misappropriation of funds) in the institution, I asked them, how can I overcome this?” Vaendwanawa explained to Nampa on Monday.
To arrest the wastage, Integrated Business Solutions proposed that the council install Pastel Evolution accounting software.
“The reason why people are resisting is because they want loopholes…I became unpopular in that council because I sealed a milking cow (cash cow),” she said.
An accountant at the regional council, Veja Murangi denied the stand-off with Vaendwanawa.
Instead, he said it is currently unclear what they as accountants ought to do at the council.
“Who is responsible to do what since we are there and the consultants are also there?” he asked, amid the existing overlapping duties.
Echoing similar sentiments, senior accountant Helena Moses said they are currently understaffed to handle the over 35 accounts of the council.
“I don’t have time,” she said, explaining the dilemma of her workload.