A report on the East African Community (EAC) financial statements has uncovered rampant misuse of funds in the regional organisation and its affiliates.
The anomalies that have been exposed include poor accountability for imprest by the staff and what it termed ‘‘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 (Eala) on Thursday called on the EAC Council of Ministers—the policy organ of the Community—to urgently intervene to curb misuse of the taxpayers’ money.
“The EAC management should tighten the loopholes and rid anomalies in accountabilities for imprest advances,” stressed the chairperson of Eala’s Accounts Committee, Mr Jeremie Ngendakumana during his presentation.
The report reviewed the EAC financial statements for the year that ended on June 30, 2013. It is slated for debate in Eala starting Monday.
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, a total of $116,000 was paid out as daily subsistence allowance (DSA) during a meeting held outside Arusha.
It is the view of the Eala team that the said strategic plan meeting of the Court should have been held “in an alternative place that does not require the payment of DSA.”
At Eala itself, the Committee notes of 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.
Under the projects, 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 in completion of the review is unnecessary, they observed, noting that it had led to increased expenditure.
The EAC institutional review, aimed to streamline its activities more efficiently and effectively has been on cards for the last three to four years but not implemented.
“EAC has several unfilled staff positions and to bridge the gap, the management has often been forced to offer short-term renewable contracts, (something) which has several disadvantages to both the staff and the organisation,” the report reads in part.
The Parliamentary Accounts Committee is recommending the filling of various vacant positions to enable the five member-countries bloc to perform as per expectations.
Furthermore, the Committee wants proper recruitment to avoid short-term contracts. The report noted further that some employees have held key positions on temporary basis for too long.
On the consolidated financial statements of the EAC organs and institutions, it was revealed that there was over-expenditure with the internal unit lacking sufficient capacity to undertake its duties.