MLHA complying with gov't requirements-AG

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The Auditor General's report for the year ending 31st March 2009 has found that the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs has complied with government accounting requirements to near perfection but there are certain issues that need to be ironed out.

The AG learnt during an audit inspection at Mahalapye offices of the Department of Civil and National Registration that the officers are not allowed to collect P100 fines charged for late application of the National Identity card.

The funds can only be collected by police officers, and in places where there are no police stations to collect such, it becomes impossible for DCNR to process IDs for new applicants.

"It was learnt that this arrangement presented some logistical difficulties when officers of the Department had visited the district satellite villages for the purpose of registering villagers for the national identity cards, where there were no police officers to collect the fines from those persons who had defaulted, as the registration cards could not be processed unless the fines had been paid," the AG says in his report.

He cautioned that the problem could be spread throughout the country and an inconvenience to members of the public.  He advised that the appropriate departmental officers be appointed revenue collectors on behalf of the responsible Accounting Officer. The AG also discovered that there was careless spending on the construction of Moshupa Male Prison. The tender was awarded to the lowest bidder at P26 million in 2001.

The project was supposed to commence in February 2002 and scheduled for completion in August 2003.

The contractor performed badly and the contract was terminated in September 2005.  "At that date a total of P26, 579, 371 had already been paid to the contractor," he said.

The project was re-tendered at a price of P7.7 million for completion of outstanding works and awarded in April 2007.  "It has since transpired that the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board, at its April 2 2009 sitting, has given retrospective approval for the increase in the contract amount to P15, 068, 016. 

This amount is almost double the tender amount and is far in excess of the highest amount of P9, 154, 681 among the re-tender bidders".

The Auditor General lamented that the project took seven years to complete and government has not obtained any of the benefits of competitive bidding in terms of timely delivery and price advantage inherent in the tendering processes, and this is a matter of concern.

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