Rampant misuse of funds at the East African Community and its affiliates has ben uncovered in a new report.
The anomalies that have been exposed in the report on the EAC’s financial statements include poor accountability for imprest by staff and ‘‘unnecessary expenditure of resources.’’
It was found out that the secretariat spent about $3.4 million during 2012/13 financial year on procurement of air tickets alone, an expenditure seen as unjustifiable.
The report, which was tabled before the East African Legislative Assembly on last week, called on the EAC Council of Ministers — the policy organ of the regional body — to urgently intervene to curb misuse of taxpayers’ money. Slated for debate in the regional parliament starting this week, the report reviewed financial statements for the year ended June 30, 2013.
“The EAC management should tighten the loopholes and rid of anomalies in accountabilities for imprest advances,” stressed the Eala’s Accounts Committee chairperson Jeremie Ngendakumana in his presentation.
The construction works under the EAC were not spared either. The report found out “inadequate descriptions” in the Bill of Quantities. It was proposed that the EAC should have a building policy and procurement manual for the same.
At the East African Court of Justice (EACJ), one of the key organs of the Community, $116,000 was paid out as daily subsistence allowance (DSA) during a strategic plan meeting outside Arusha. The Eala team however felt that the meeting should have been held “in an alternative place that does not require the payment of DSA.”
At Eala itself, the Committee notes irregular payment of per diems amounting to $9,084 to facilitate attendance of funeral committees and recommends that there should be some guidelines on death-related expenditures.
The HIV/Aids project is reported to have “poorly utilised” budgeted funds, only managing to spend 47 per cent of total funds earmarked for its programmes.
The legislators partly attributed the financial mess at EAC to delays in finalisation of the institutional review of the regional body, which has a dozen organs and institutions under it. The delay was unnecessary, they observed, noting that it had led to increased expenditure.
The review, which is aimed at streamlining the EAC’s activities more efficiently and effectively, has been on cards for the past three or four years.
“EAC has several unfilled staff positions and, to bridge the gap, the management has often been forced to offer short-term renewable contracts,” the report reads.
The Parliamentary Accounts Committee has recommended the filling of various vacant positions to enable the five-member bloc to perform to expectations.
The Committee wants proper recruitment to avoid short-term contracts after the report noted that some employees have held key positions temporarily for too long.
A scrutiny of the consolidated financial statements of the EAC organs and institutions revealed over-expenditure and insufficient capacity of the internal unit.