Members of the House of People’s Representatives (HPR) on Tuesday expressed frustration over most federal government institutions for their financial irregularities. The complaints come on the heels of the Auditor General’s report on the 2008 E.C. fiscal year budget utilization.
Mulu Gebregziabher, one of the few outspoken MPs, hailed the Auditor General for his commitment in presenting very “critical” reports, as he has been doing over the past several years. She, however, said she is sick and tired of listening to the same reports of repeated financial irregularities by federal institutions.
MPs also told House Speaker Abadula Gemeda that the house should take stricter action wrongdoing institutions in accordance with the duties and responsibilities vested upon it by the constitution.
“The Office of the Auditor General has really proved to be the right hand of the house”, Mulu said.
Addressing the speaker, she said, “Such a reckless game has to stop.”
But she also underlined that “we are also accountable for such continued financial irregularities.”
Another notable figure in the house, Tesfaye Daba, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Standing Committee, on his part, said, “We are tired of listening to such kind of reports, and we should take action.”
Referring to the words of the prime minister who promised action based on the Auditor General’s report last year, Tesfaye urged the government to take action, and to subsequently present a report before the House.
According to the MPs, the measures they want to take include bringing all responsible organizations and their respective management before a court of law to face justice based on audit findings.
According to the Auditor General’s report, the institution, along with its partners (the Audit Corporation and citified private audit firms), compiled the report consisting of five institutions for which audit opinion could not be provided and 53 organizations which are found to be in adverse opinion.
The report also covers auditing findings that have been carried out in 168 federal budget-recipient offices and 48 branches that it had already targeted. Hence, for the first time, the auditing institution has achieved 100 percent of what it had set out to accomplish.
Similarly, this year’s report revealed that no improvement has been made among institutions with critical financial irregularities, notably offices at ministerial level and higher educational institutions and the Ethiopian Revenue and Custom Authority (ERCA).
According to the latest report, a sum of 349.4 million birr budget shortfall was registered at five institutions. These institutions include the airport branch of the Ethiopian Revenues and Customs Authority (ERCA), Jigjiga University, Gambella University, Arba Minch University and Addis Ababa University. Meanwhile, a surplus of 2.4 million birr was found at Hawassa and Dilla universities.
In addition, the report also has come with the findings of financial mismanagement and irregularities of account documentation noticed in some 20 organizations and four branch offices.
The report also noted that an unaccounted sum to the tune of 5.3 billion birr was found at 113 institutions and 28 branches. According to the report, out of the stated uncollected revenue, around 375.56 million birr in six organizations and six branches did not have proper documentation. Hence, it was not possible to form a complete opinion.
As regards arrears owed by organizations, those that take the lion’s share of the stated outstanding sums include the National Disaster Risk and Management Commission (2.4 billion birr), Addis Ababa University (720 million birr), Addis Ababa Science and Technology University (461million birr), Public Procurement and Property Disposal Service (352.3 million birr), Ministry of Defense (172 million birr), Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (122.4 million birr), several organizations under the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources (120.8 million birr), Debre Birhan University (108.3 million birr) and ERCA (119 million birr).
The Auditor General also reported serious environmental and natural resources threats particularly in the Rift Valley region due to major flower farms including the Dutch giant Sher-Ethiopia Flower farm as well as other big factories such as BGI Ethiopia brewery.
“It is obvious that water that released from urban areas and industries is supposed to be treated before they are discharged. However, from sample organizations that were audited, it was found that the waste disposal from the Hawassa sub basin, BGI Ethiopia’s brewery, Etab Soup Factory, Tabor Ceramic Factory and Hawassa Textile factory are released to the Hawassa Lake through Tikur Wuha. Similarly, in Ziway, chemicals are being released to Ziway Lake from irrigated farms and from flower farms including Sher Ethiopia as well as other farms in its farm yard that includes Herburg Rose PLC, AQ Rose Ziway Roses before wastes get treated,” the report states.
However, the Auditor General concluded that the regulatory organ, The Rift Valley Basin Lakes Development and Protection Authority, failed to install a proper mechanism to implement environmental impact assessment as well as systems to ensure the safety of water resources in the region.