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Axe hangs over LGA officials

THE Minister for State, Regional Administration and Local Government (PoRALG) Ummy Mwalimu has ordered for stern disciplinary measures to all Local Government Authorities (LGAs) officials who were involved in financial irregularities as earmarked in the just released audit report of the Controller and Auditor General (CAG).

The Minister has also directed the Permanent Secretary in the docket to review the Local Government Revenue Collection Information System (LGRCIS) and Government of Tanzania Health Operations Management System-(GoTHOMIS) to ensure smooth collection of revenues.

According to her, the review of the electronic revenue collection system must address the shortfalls indicated in the CAG report as intervention in controlling unnecessary financial loss.

Addressing a press conference Friday here, Ms Mwalimu said she has also submitted to the appointing authority names of 61 District Executive Directors (DEDs) whose councils have received adverse and qualified opinions from the CAG report.

She also noted her intentions to sign performance contract with Regional Commissioners for them to properly supervise revenue collection and expenditure in accordance to the rules and laws of the land.

For the year 2019/2020, the CAG handed over 900 audit opinions to all entities, out of which 243 were handed over to the Central Government.

“Out of 185 audited financial statements, 124 received unqualified opinion reports, 53-adverse opinion reports, while eight of them got qualified opinion,” said the minister.

The eight LGA which received qualified opinion reports include Shinyanga District Council (DC), Itigi DC, Singida DC, Igunga DC, Sikonge DC, Urambo DC, Momba DC and Tabora Municipal Council.

In the shocking 2019/2020 report, the CAG report shows that about 18.8bn/- was collected by different LGAs but was never taken to any government owned bank account, and directed the money to be banked by Wednesday.

The Minister said internal auditors of 54 councils did not do their job well, and as a result the councils recorded the adverse opinion and qualified opinion reports.

“They should be taken to the relevant disciplinary committees for proper measures,” noted the minister.

She also instructed that Certified Public Accountants (CPA) who endorsed the reports which resulted in the negative impact should be taken before their professional body, the National Board of Auditors and Accountants (NBAA) for ethical misconduct.

She said there is no way for councils to qualify for unqualified opinion reports, adverse opinion reports and qualified opinion since they have financial expertise in the field. In about 22 LGAs, the CAG report shows that about 1.34bn/- was collected without considering or outside the Local Government Revenue Information System (LGRCIS).

“Any revenue collection outside the official system is likely to be squandered by unscrupulous officials and it increases chances for corruption acts,’’ he insisted.

The CAG’s audit report further shows that there were transactions amounting to 4.8bn/- that were removed from the revenue system without supporting documents, and that sometimes the removal of the transactions was not verified by accounting officers.

The report also shows further that there was uncollected money amounting to 30.9bn/-.

“I went through various reports of revenue collection in the LGRCIS and realised that 30.9bn/- was not collected by 124 LGAs from sale of land plots,’’ he said.

In a dramatic turn of events, the CAG report shows that about 179.5m/- which was collected from various sources of four LGAs was spent even before being banked.

Another 2.3bn/- was collected by different agents in 18 LGAs but the money was never submitted to the said authorities, the CAG report further reveals.

CAG Mr Chares Kichere revealed also that there were also transactions of 36bn/- that had several disputes, which until June 2020 were yet to be incorporated in the revenue system of 67 different LGAs.

LGAs are also charged with the task of providing loans to women, youth and disability groups.

However, the 2019/2020 CAG report shows that about 37.8bn/- was yet to be repaid.

The report further showed that there was another 34bn/- that was disbursed to 95LGAs for implementation of various development projects, but until June 2020, the money was yet to implement the targeted projects.

Contrary to section 55 of the Tax Administration Regulations, there was 5.5bn/- from 58 LGAs that was disbursed, but during the CAG’s auditing, there was no proof for electronic receipts.

In the report, nine LGAs were confirmed to have made dubious transactions amounting to 614.5m/-, money which ended in the pockets of unscrupulous public officials.

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