Finance and Economic Development minister, Kenneth Matambo has informed Parliament that Cabinet recently approved specific measures to strengthen financial management of Special Funds.
These measures include transfer of all funds held under Special Funds into the Government Remittance Account to be managed as part of the Government cash balances held at the Bank of Botswana.
“This will ensure that government closely monitors the use of these funds, thereby ensuring compliance with both the Public Finance Management Act and the Fund Orders,” he said.
Matambo said the case of the National Petroleum Fund (NPF) has emphasised the need for urgent review of government special funds and improvement in their management.
Currently, Bakang Seretse, Botho Leburu and Kenneth Kerekang are facing a money laundering charge, involving P250 million from the NPF. Matambo said they would also increase capacity within the office of the Accountant General to monitor the management of special funds by those designated as administrators, who are accounting officers for the respective ministries under which the fund is established.
“My ministry, in consultation with administrators of the various funds, will be undertaking a wholesome review of Special Funds Orders in line with provisions of the Public Finance Management Act, as well as ensure consistency with domestic Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism laws and standards,” he further said. Matambo said this would not only ensure compliance, but the
He said key amongst concerns for his ministry are non-compliance to the Public Finance Management Act in the administration of the Funds, with breaches including the use of Funds for unintended purposes; unexplained delays in submission or non-submission of audited accounts; investment of surplus funds without the input of the Office of Accountant General as required by the Public Finance Management Act.
“Further, certain sections in some Fund orders are not very clear, leading to various interpretations.
This has resulted in one designated Fund Administrators using their discretion in utilising monies held under such funds,” he said.
Matambo said there were 34 various types of Special Funds. Of these, he said 30 transact through and are monitored by his ministry through the office of Accountant General, while various Fund Managers managed four, with their deposits held with commercial banks and those of Fund Managers.
Members of Parliament welcomed the move. They, however, advised that all the Funds be audited and those found to have any wrong done be brought to book, a suggestion Matambo welcomed, saying it would make part of the review.