AG to present 2006 report on Monday

Could face wrath of MPs for failing to beat deadlineKIMIHURURA - The Auditor General (AG) Evelyn Kamagaju will on Monday finally present the Fiscal Year 2006 report to a joint session of senators and deputies at the Parliamentary Buildings, Kimihurura. The report will be presented months behind schedule since it should have been released before mid last year. The Director for Documentation and Communication at Parliament, Augustine Habimana, confirmed the date for the presentation of the AG’s report.
The Auditor General Evelyn Kamagaju (Photo/file)
The Auditor General Evelyn Kamagaju (Photo/file)

KIMIHURURA - The Auditor General (AG) Evelyn Kamagaju will on Monday finally present the Fiscal Year 2006 report to a joint session of senators and deputies at the Parliamentary Buildings, Kimihurura.

The report will be presented months behind schedule since it should have been released before mid last year.

The Director for Documentation and Communication at Parliament, Augustine Habimana, confirmed the date for the presentation of the AG’s report.

It remains unclear why Kamagaju is releasing the report eight months late.

Normally, the AG’s report is supposed to be presented before the end of the first half of the following year, meaning that the one for 2006 should have been made public before June, 2007.

The report usually gives an analytical picture of how state institutions spent taxpayers’ money in the preceding financial year, and thus, this one will dwell most on the 2006 budget.

The development comes just weeks after Members of the Chamber of Deputies rejected verbal explanations by the Minister of Justice Tharcisse Karugarama on what punitive measures had been taken against public entities and officials accused of embezzling or mismanaging public funds in the previous AG reports.

The MPs asked Karugarama to prepare a more elaborate written explanation.

Previous reports by the AG Kamagaju indicated that billions of taxpayers’ money was unaccounted for during fiscal years 2003, 2004 and 2005.

Most of that money, according to those reports, was lost through illegal tendering procedures, although the widespread lack of bookkeeping culture in public offices at the time was also seen as a major cause.

For instance, the 2004 AG report indicated that about Frw 4.4 billion was unaccounted for while that of 2005 showed that up to Frw3.6 billion could not be traced.

The government generally blamed mismanagement of public finances to lack of proper financial and bank reconciliation statements; poor handling of inventories as well as weak internal auditing systems.

But now with such skills expected to have since improved due to the government’s capacity-building programmes and recruitment of qualified accountants and auditors, taxpayers should expect an overall improvement.

Such is the view of MPs – the principal recipients of the AG reports – who have previously instructed relevant state organs to follow up on the past AG reports with a view of reversing the trend.

MP Connie Bwiza said: "Generally the previous reports indicated gross financial misappropriations, but if you critically look at this one, there is a slight change though not as we expected."

The MPs have already been presented with copies of the report.

Bwiza hinted at what Kamagaju should expect in the August House on Monday, saying: "Besides the report itself, we will have to question the Auditor General as to why she delayed to present it."

The chairperson of the Standing Committee on budgetary affairs in the Chamber of Deputies, Constance Mukayuhi Rwaka, whose committee is directly charged with scrutinizing and making recommendations on the AG reports, declined to comment saying the report was not public yet.

She however commented on the time frame, saying the AG broke the law by not presenting the report within the stipulated time.

"We (MPs) are the people that put in place these laws; if they are violated, we also have to be the first ones to question why," she said.

Critics say the government has not done enough to bring to book those responsible for misappropriating public money.

Karugarama said yesterday that whenever his office receives such reports, it refers them to the Office of the Prosecutor General.

It was not possible to get comments from both Kamagaju and Prosecutor General (PG) Martin Ngoga as their cell phones were switched off by press time.

However, last year several public institution officials were summoned at the PG’s office in connection with financial irregularities unearthed by Kamagaju’s office.

President Paul Kagame’s government has for years won international recognition for its zero tolerance against corruption.

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