M498 483 blown on Mphanya’s funeral

M498 483 blown on Mphanya’s funeral

MASERU – THE government blew M498 483 on the funeral of former foreign affairs minister Ntsukunyane Mphanya in April 2016.
This was revealed in a report released by the Auditor-General on the Consolidated Financial Statement of the government, ended in March 2017.
There was however no Cabinet memorandum for the funeral of Mphanya.

Lucy Liphafa in her powers as the Auditor General said the government does not have a policy for official funerals.
And in the absence of such documents, “I could not determine whether the expenditure incurred was within the parameters of the law”.
Liphafa said an examination of the records also revealed that catering costs amounted to M427 852 for 4 662 people.

This high cost could have been avoided if the option of catering services weighed against the option of buying food for the bereaved family.
For argument’s sake, Liphafa said if five to ten cows were bought for the family at M10 000 each then the cost of meat would range from M50 000 to M100 000 and groceries and vegetables at around M80 000 to M100 000.

She said the government would have spent a maximum of M200 000 only.
“These anomalies call for the government to come up with a policy on key activities to be covered for state and official funerals from public funds,” Liphafa said.
The report also stated that the audit established that the ministry did not comply with laws governing services and management of public funds.
It has indicated that caterers were engaged without catering licenses from the Ministry of Tourism.

But section 15 (1) of the Accommodation, Catering and Tourism Enterprise Act of 1997 specifies that no person shall operate an accommodation, a catering, tourism enterprise unless the person has obtained a valid licence from the board.

Liphafa said copies of licences attached to the payment vouchers were manufacturing/trader’s licences from the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
She cited two caterers who were engaged to provide services at a total amount of M20 460 for the burial and seven suppliers who were engaged in to provide catering services totaling M45 530 for the 50th independence celebrations.

She argued that invoices were raised before the purchase orders could be issued to the suppliers.
“The dates on invoices were earlier than those reflected on the purchase orders,” Liphafa said.
She said violation of government procurement procedures raises doubts as to whether payments were made for services actually rendered for.

The startling report indicates that invoices totaling M402 000 for the burial of Mphanya were raised before purchase orders could be issued to the suppliers.
And as for the 50th independence celebration, invoices to the amount of M916 370 were raised before orders were issued to the suppliers.

’Makhotso Rakotsoane

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