LEADER of Opposition Hon Matthew Wale has praised the Office of the Auditor General (AOG) following the release of the report on the audit of COVID-19 funds.
The Office of the Auditor General (OAG) has recently released the Audit Report that contains serious financial mismanagement of COVID 19 funds by the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO), Ministry of Infrastructure Development and the Ministry of Health & Medical Services.
In a statement today, Hon Wale said the findings in the reports are shocking and may amount to serious corrupt practices.
“I would like to acknowledge the OAG for their courage and commitment in releasing the report which contains findings on the appalling lack of transparency which indicates a failure in accountability dealing with COVID-19 funds during the pandemic,” he said.
He said in emergency situations, it is important that ministries are able respond effectively and efficiently to evolving often-dynamic situations.
However, Hon Wale said this must not be an excuse for the neglect of due process and accountability.
“Public funds must be used with the greatest of care and efficiency. All public officers responsible for decision making have a duty of care to safeguard public funds and assets from fraud, misuse and abuse,” he said.
The Opposition Leader said the OAG findings clearly show there are serious gaps in the accountability for Covid-19 funds.
Worse, he said it would seem that public funds may have been lost to corrupt conduct in inflating prices and no proper tenders carried out, both of which may point to a kick back system to enrich those involved in the transactions.
“The Commissioner of Police must take a close interest in the OAG’s report and seek technical advice from the OAG on what further investigations may be necessary. No stones should be left unturned on this matter. It is serious financial mismanagement that smell of corruption. I am calling on the Police Commissioner to initiate investigations as soon as possible,” Hon Wale said.
Hon Wale said the report has clearly indicated that one of our biggest weaknesses is applying and enforcing the regulations relating to SIGs management and procurement, especially in emergency situations.
“Unless we address due process and spending of finances, the country will continue to suffer financial loss as a result of corruption, carelessness and deficiencies in the procurement and payment systems,” he said.
– Opposition Press