ACC to probe home affairs’ foreign bank accounts
2018-04-16 ; The Namibian
THE Anti-Corruption Commission says it will conduct a thorough investigation into foreign bank accounts of the home affairs ministry into which money was paid, but remained unaccounted for.
This was announced after The Namibian reported last week that home affairs could not account for over N$16,7 million transferred into five bank accounts in foreign countries during the 2016/17 financial year.
The Namibian reported that ministry officials had been transferring funds into bank accounts abroad, meant for “the cost of living allowances” for attaches in five countries, but failed to account for such funds, saying they had no control over the accounts.
The funds were deposited into two bank accounts in China which had closing balances of over US$186 000 and CNY4,39 million (Chinese yuan), or a combined N$10,7 million.
Two accounts in Germany had a combined balance of over €350 000 or N$5,2 million at the end of the 2016/17 financial year, while another account in Nigeria had a balance of over 20 million naira, or N$683 000.
The ministry also could not account for about N$200 000 transferred into a bank account in South Africa.
Altogether, the money in the accounts amounted to over N$16,7 million of state funds which were unaccounted for at the end of the 2016/17 financial year.
During the same financial year, the ministry did not account for revenue received for visa and permit applications through its attachés in foreign countries.
The ministry’s audited report states that the funds received were deposited and kept in the attaches’ bank accounts, and did not reflect on the ministry’s books.
The money collected through visa and permit fees in Germany, Angola, South Africa, China and Nigeria amounted to about N$2,5 million.
Responding to the auditors’ comments, home affairs had indicated that the bank accounts were managed by the international relations ministry, which also failed to disclose them in their financial statements.
In a statement issued on Friday, the ACC said it would question the accounting officers of the two ministries to provide affidavits supported by documentary proof “on how the money in the alleged accounts was spent”.
“The ACC has decided to conduct a thorough investigation, and get to the bottom of these allegations,” the statement said.
The auditor general’s office will also be called to provide the ACC with documentary proof of requests made to the two ministries about the accounts.
“It is critical that those entrusted with public money must account for the expenditure of such funds. It is totally unacceptable that year after year, the auditor general reports on millions unaccounted for, and the responsible authorities seem not to take action against the responsible officials,” reads the ACC statement.
The ACC will also subpoena the chairperson of the parliamentary committee on public accounts, Mike Kavekotora, to explain whether the report was brought to his attention and what remedial action, if any, has been recommended.
Yesterday, ACC director general Paulus Noa said they would investigate the accounts because “it seems that no one wants to take responsibility between the two ministries”.
“These are state funds that were put somewhere, but it appears that no one wants to take responsibility,” Noa said. “That to us is like money was put into someone’s account, and they don’t want to explain. Remember that we are talking about public funds. We just want people to explain how the money deposited into those accounts was used,” he stated.