Auditor General (AG) Mildred Chiri said her office had been threatened by some companies named in her recently released hard-hitting annual audit report for 2019.
During her oral testimony before the parliamentary public accounts portfolio committee on Monday, Chiri said she resorted to not naming the companies involved in the underhand deals in order to avoid legal action.
“When it comes to naming companies with problems in the annual report, the approach of naming suppliers and companies has not been done in order to manage the risk associated with potential litigation. Some vendors have provided feedback on some of our findings in the past. Those who approached us in the past said that naming them in our reports caused them to lose business. They think that just mentioning their names taints them because it takes away their future business, ”Chiri said.
She said some disputes involved forensic audits, while some vendors would threaten her office.
“Some would like to somehow threaten and when we checked with our secretariat. They warned us that we would face a litany of lawsuits if we continued to name companies,” Chiri added.
She promised to satisfy all stakeholders in the future as her office was now in the process of finding ways to deal with such issues.
During oral testimony hearings by parliamentary portfolio committees in the past, some companies have been involved in shady transactions either by being paid in advance but still not supplying the proceeds to government entities.
She also stressed that her office had not fully fulfilled its mandate due to financial constraints and the inability of government entities to provide adequate documentation.
“This year we have not managed to go out in the provinces so the results are a little reduced as a result but it’s still more or less like what it was last year. »The site visits could not be carried out during the 2019 financial year because of funding constraints cited by the treasurer. In 2020, again, no site visit was made as funds from the budget of ministries, including our own, were transferred by the treasurer to fight Covid 19. Our workforce due to the directive of the Civil Service Commission on downsizing were already limited. “
Chiri also revealed that in 2020 the World Bank made funds available for a special audit on the use of donated funds for the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We were successful in sending staff to undertake the special audit in three of the provinces. The audit was conducted jointly with the internal auditors at the request of the World Bank in order to impart skills to the internal auditors. The report has been completed and the report is now ready to be tabled and I am sure it will be available at any time, ”she said.