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Embassy's petty cash still not accounted for

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MBABANE – Petty cash amounting to E434 699.89 which was withdrawn from the coffers of the Swaziland Embassy in Kuwait remains unaccounted for.

The money was withdrawn as petty cash from the embassy for petty expenditure between the months of October and December 2009.

The Auditor General’s (AG) financial report for year ended March 31, 2011 revealed that it was difficult to get this money accounted for because there were no cash slips or expenditure receipts that were made available for audit. There was no justification and those responsible were not specified.

"The petty cash which could not be supported by cash receipts was in violation of Financial and Accounting Instruction 1406, which states that in the case of petty cash payments a cash sale slip will be sufficient to support the petty cash expenditure," explained the report signed by Phestecia Nxumalo, the acting AG.

Expenditure

The AG’s office also discovered that an unsupported expenditure of E654 525.30 was incurred in respect of passage allowance for the ambassador’s trips. Phesheya Dlamini is currently the Swazi Ambassador to Kuwait.

The trips he made were from Kuwait to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, and Swaziland via United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa and Belgium. They were made between June 2009 and March 2010 and the total cost was KD22 990 (E654 525.30).

Meanwhile, the report stated that on the issue of the unaccounted petty cash withdrawals, the controlling officer’s response was that a report about it was submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Mpumelelo Hlophe is the current Principal Secretary for that ministry. The AG’s office also expected him to shed some light on the unsupported payment pertaining to the ambassador’s travels; however, such was not forthcoming.

Reported

The AG also reported that the embassy leased a house in Dahiya Murabarack Al Abdulla, Al Jaber Black St. 106 in Kuwait for the Counsellor before assumption of duty. The lease commenced on May 1, 2008 to April, 30, 2013 at an annual rental payment of KD18 000 (E512 460).

"The house, which is fully furnished by government is still vacant to date and for the past three years, that is, May1,2008 to April 30, 2011, had suffered a loss of KD54 000 (E1 537 380). To date, I have neither been updated on the termination of the lease nor informed of the efforts made by the principal secretary to save government from this loss," said Nxumalo.

She added that the waste of government resources was a ‘thorn in the flesh’ of the taxpayers especially during the current government financial crisis.

Hlophe, the reported stated, never responded to the AG’s observations and therefore violated Financial and Accounting Instruction 0315, which prescribes that it is the duty of all accounting officers to reply promptly to queries raised by the AG.

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