MPs expenditure questionable

Extravagant: Auditor-General report questioned MPs’ expenditure PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
Extravagant: Auditor-General report questioned MPs’ expenditure PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO

The Auditor-General has observed that Members of Parliament (MPs) have a questionable expenditure that was incurred when they had gone for a trip in Kasane.

This was after it was discovered that the bills for meals on account of some honourable members had increased significantly.

According to the report, there were other questionable bills incurred in the period November 1, 2019, to December 13, 2019 and ranging from P650 to P11,945 for lunch, dinner, beverages and Pedicure Swedish Back totalling P28,570.

The report says the invoice attached individual lunch and dinner rates normally ranged between P200 and P350 and P250 and P380 respectively. However, for the period in question, the cost per meal ranged from P539 to P1,268 for both lunch and dinner totalling P10,478.

The report by Auditor-General, Pulane Letebele further indicates that payment to Avani Resort and Casino Hotel by the National Assembly was P6,217,751.25. This was for the provision of accommodation and meals for MPs and their 36 spouses. The bill is from October 31, 2019, to December 20, 2019 and March 17, 2020.

“A review of the invoice revealed that P3,517,461.95 (57%) of the amount paid was narrated as “No show” (meaning that some Members of Parliament did not show up even though the accommodation was reserved for them). Moreover, dockets were not attached to the invoice, which made it difficult to itemise the hotel bill,” the report says.

It was revealed that Members of Parliament and their spouses were accommodated at Avani Resort and Casino Hotel following their election to Parliament in October 2019, while their official residences were still under renovation. According to the report, authority for accommodation was granted by the Ministerial Tender Committee (MTC) on the basis that it was an emergency. “The bill for Avani Resort & Casino Hotel had amounted to P6,217,751.25 which exceeded the threshold for MTC and therefore, required retroactive approval from the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB). However, PPADB rejected the retroactive request stating that the procurement did not meet the conditions for direct appointment, which is applicable only when the service to be provided is urgent and necessary to protect life and the environment,” the report says.

In addition, the PPADB had advised that the National Assembly should have known that they were handling an emergency procurement and should have acted in a manner that befits the circumstances. It also advised that the National Assembly should seek assistance from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MFED) in paying for services rendered. However, the National Assembly had not furnished the Auditor-General with evidence on the latest position on the matter. On another issue, a review of the constituency offices' lease agreements revealed that rentals had been paid for three months after the lease agreements had expired in December 2019.

The report reveals that payments amounting to P222,040 were made for the period from January to March 2020, while new lease agreements were made in April 2020. “Furthermore, it was noted in some instances that the constituency offices had relocated to different premises after the signing of the lease agreements and therefore, entering into new lease agreements with new landlords. This had resulted in the leases running concurrently before the old lease agreement could be terminated,” the report further reveals.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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