The 2016       Audit report has shows that the Minister of Agriculture under the past regime was a big mess as there was the payment of government counterparts funding to non-existing projects.

According to the report, the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) completed its financing of the Diversified Food Production Project (DFPP) on the project closure date of December 2015.

It was observed that Le800 million was transferred to the project account in 2016, which was the year after it closure and there was no evidence submitted for audit which showed that the project had liabilities which could have justified the request for and receipt of the said amount.

The report further states that from the review of payments vouchers and supporting documents, it was observed that the monies were used mostly to pay salaries of contract staff.

It noted that no documentary evidence was made available to show that assets (such as vehicles, furniture and equipment worth millions of Leones were transferred to the Ministry after the project completion date in 2015, adding that there was no written evidence from the Financial Secretary to confirm government’s commitment to the project after the end of donor funding.

“In March 2015, the Rural and Private Sector Development Project (RPSDP) was closed by the donor, World Bank. The Audit team observed with dismay that even after the project was closed, government disbursed the sum of Le 238,463,218 as counterpart funding to the project. It should be noted that almost a year since the project was closed, it is yet to hand over the project assets such as office furniture, equipment, motor vehicles, etc. worth millions of Leones to the Ministry,” noted the report.

In addition, it went on, evidence was not submitted to show that alternative arrangements for disposing of the assets had been reached, saying it was recommended that the Project Coordinator should refund the said money to the Consolidated Revenue Fund Account and evidence of such payments submitted for audit inspection.

The assets (vehicles, furniture and equipment) are to be handed over the Ministry within 15 days of receipt of the report and that evidence of the handing of the above mentioned assets is to be made available for audit verification, otherwise the Project Coordinator will be asked to pay into the consolidated fund the total cost of the properties.

The Permanent Secretary in his response, said evidence of project liabilities and correspondences from the Ministry of Finance, to confirm government’s commitment to finance the project after donor funding, are available for audit verification.

The Auditor General in her comment, said evidence of project liabilities and correspondences from the Ministry of Finance to confirm government’s commitment to finance the project was not submitted for verification and that supporting documents for the utilization of the funds in question and evidence of handing of the project’s assets to the Ministry were not submitted.

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