There were clear control weaknesses identified in most of the provinces visited. These related to the ordering, delivery, invoicing and payment processes for goods and services. Inadequate record keeping was a common feature as the Ministries, Departments and Agencies did not always have updated or reliable information on the donations received and distributed, goods and services delivered and reports on the implementation status of the Government initiatives to fight the pandemic.
The lack of validation, integration and sharing of data and outdated or incorrect information across Government platforms resulted in some beneficiaries, including Government officials, receiving COVID19 relief disbursements they might not have been entitled. This defeated the purpose for which the disbursements were made as the intended beneficiaries could have been deprived of the assistance.
Substantial resources amounting to $1 980 034 876 were disbursed to six (6) MDAs as at November 5, 2020 to fund important frontline work and public sector investment projects that included the provision of clean water, ablution facilities, quarantine and isolation services and other services necessary in the fight against COVID19. The inability to coordinate and oversee efforts where multiple departments, agencies and spheres of government were involved, affected the projects as some of the initiatives were slow to get off the ground.
The issues raised hereunder relate to a sample of offices in six provinces covered and the findings reflect challenges that may cut across all provinces. A sample of the activities was looked at and an audit of other areas may reveal more challenges.
The National task force and the Government as a whole need to develop systems and procedures that would facilitate adequate controls to avoid leakages, maintenance of adequate documentation for accountability and transparency, efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery to achieve intended objectives and effective communication to limit instances of literal decision making without due regard to laid down procedures that are meant to safeguard public resources.