The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has accused the Administration of Justice (AoJ) of exhibiting a nonchalant attitude towards the preparation of their accounting books.
The AoJ that appeared before the committee was accused of showing a lack of seriousness in doing thorough work preparing the books properly and was called ou for doing copy and paste from their previous accounting appearance.
Acting Chief Registrar of the High Court Juliana Dube and Principal Account Officer Rahube Setlhare, who respectively acted as accounting officers, were caught off guard when the committee pointed out that some information in their books were just copied and pasted from the previous appearance accounts and that there was no substantive evidence of what they are referring to.
Member of Parliament (MP) for Jwaneng-Mabutsane Mephato Reatile opened the floor with a question as to why they were providing information without any evidence and why they were doing copy and paste from their previous appearance.
“Officer, all we see here are statements without any evidence and this is exactly what happened last year: The same thing was said. It is just 'copy and paste'. This system of copy and paste, will it take us anywhere? ” he asked.
Reatile pointed out that the nonchalant attitude was costly because they are the same people who would come back to them and say the matter has been prescribed and the matter has died a natural death as they often say in the legal frame.
He said in that instance, it would mean that they bill the accounting officer because it's their fault for the matter to have not been dealt with while there was still time.
Committee member and MP for Tonota Pono Moatlhodi pointed out that it was evident that the accounting officers did not bother to go through their books to do what is expected of them.
He said it was unfortunate that the officers came to the committee on a previous encounter and after 12 months they come back to do the same thing all over again.
“We expect to believe what you are bringing here is correct. The Standing Orders say repeated irregularity of this nature should be reported to the Auditor General so they can teach you what is expected of you and do your job properly. We did not come here to joke. Maybe we need to send you back more so that we are empowered by the Standing Orders,” he said.
Responding to the committee, accounting officer Dube apologised and made assured that the mistake would be rectified, especially where the Committee pointed out the copy and paste.
On other issues, Dube told the committee that the AoJ was still struggling with a shortage of manpower, especially court administration personnel and also unclaimed court deposits, especially the maintenance funds.
“There is a lot of unclaimed court deposits and the court is in the process of separating the funds so that we could be able to know how much each deposit is, be it maintenance or deaths deposits,” she said.