Audit gap exceeds 20 billion birr
Gemechu Dubiso, Auditor General of the Federal Audit Office appeared this week before the Ethiopian House of People’s Representatives (HPR) with another shocking figure of unaccounted and illegal expenses as well as uncollected revenues by the federal government during the 2016/17 fiscal year.
On Thursday, Gemechu presented his annual audit report to the House highlighting a sum of over 20 billion birr uncollected revenues and other receivables, unaccounted and inappropriate expenditures committed by several of the federal government institutions.
This type of report is not new for the Auditor General who presented similar reports for nine consecutive years, but this time Gemechu seemed frustrated for being high and dry in not being able to stop or minimize the financial irregularities.
“This is my ninth report but didn’t see any legal measure being taken other than the usual rhetoric,” he told MPs. “We have to walk the talk if we really need to stop this problem,” he urged the House.
However, The Reporter has noticed some MPs totally disengaged while Gemechu was reading out his report. They were observed by The Reporter watching life hack and music videos on You Tube on their tablet computers issued to them by the House.
According to his latest audit report, a sum of 5.8 billion birr receivables was not collected by 116 institutions of the federal government. Receivables of another 1.3 billion birr has also been found uncollected by 10 federal institutions. According to the audit report, there are no records indicating from where this 1.3 billion birr will be collected. In addition, a sum of 1.5 billion birr tax revenues were not collected as per the procedures set by the tax and revenue laws. Apart from this the auditor has revealed another 7.8 billion birr uncollected tax revenues.
Furthermore, the report also revealed other financial mismanagements and irregularities of account documentations in several institutions of the federal government. Accordingly, the audit report identified unaccounted expenditure of 506 million birr from 68 federal institutions. It also found 98 institutions committing illegal disbursement of 190 million birr. In another category, the report has revealed 488 million birr procurement committed by 97 institutions against the legal procedures of procurement.
It also noted that a sum of 789.6 million birr payables has been found in the ledgers of 74 federal institutions; however, recipients of the 177 million birr are not identified and duration of the payables worth 580 million birr is not identified.
With respect to execution of the federal budget for the same year, the audit report has also identified 47 institutions for breaching the budget proclamation and over expended a sum of 898 million birr.
Mulu Gebregziabher, one of the outspoken MPs, was the first to express her deep grievances over the audit findings and blamed the House itself for not using the report to punish and create accountability among officials of the executive body.
“Overseeing the executive branch is one our duties but we are not exercising that,” Mulu said, blaming the House and urged Muferiat Kemal, the new speaker of the House, who replaced Abadual Gemeda, to commit herself in the fight against this financial mismanagement of the executive body.
Both Muferiat and Gemechu expressed their hope to settle the surge in the audit gap that has been observed over the past several years.
Though Gemechu seemed frustrated, he still has some hopes on the new Attorney General, Berhanu Tsegaye, who according the Auditor General has approached the audit office where he promised to start law enforcement activities.