COVID-19: Auditor-General must open offices in all provinces
Proportional Representation legislator Memory Mbondiah has urged Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube to give adequate resources to the Office of the Auditor-General so that it can open offices in all 10 provinces.
According to Mbondiah, the offices will help the Auditor General to easily carry out audits in all the provinces even during lockdowns.
The Auditor General Mildred Chiri is on record saying they delayed in carrying the 2019 audit due to lockdown restrictions.
Currently, the office is under pressure as it is yet to release the 2020 audit report and is expected to have started work on the 2021 report.
Speaking in the National Assembly during debate on the Finance 2022 Bill, Honourable Mbondiah said decentralising would help the auditor greatly.
‘’Madam Speaker Ma’am, we are now in a serious era of digitalisation and the AG’s office is expected to move from manual system so that they audit reports and they are produced timeously.
‘’Therefore, I would like to urge the Honourable Minister of Finance to revise their allocation upwards, from a paltry $300 million allocated for digital upgrade, which require an amount of $856 million.
‘’The Audit Office is only housed in Harare and has no offices across the nine provinces in the country. Now that we are in the fourth wave of COVID-19, travelling to other provinces during this pandemic will be very difficult.
‘’Therefore, I call upon the Honourable Minister of Finance to also revise the budget upwards so that the Audit Office has adequate offices across the country to efficiently gather data for the production of reports,’’ she said.
The auditor general has been instrumental over the past years in exposing corruption that has been taking place in government departments.
Recently, the auditor revealed how Cyclone Idai funds and goods were looted, left to rot or misused. She also exposed how COVID-19 funds were abused among other things.