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WOE UNTO CIVIL SERVANTS WHO DAMAGE GOVT PROPERTY

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MBABANE – Civil servants who cause loss or damage to government property will now face the music.


This is because the Minister of Finance, Neal Rijkenberg, has finally appointed the Losses Committee, which will be chaired by Attorney Lindifa Mamba.  
The Losses Committee is a body which is tasked with the purpose of investigating the loss of public property.


The 10-member committee had not been in office for almost over a year and it was one of the recommendations made by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), that the minister appoints it as soon as possible so that government funds could be recovered.      
The appointment was made through Legal Gazette No.4 of 2020 and according to the gazette, it was deemed to have come into force on December 2, 2019 and is expected to carry out its functions for a period of three years.


Assigned


The Losses Committee shall perform its functions assigned to it under Part VIII of the Public Finance Management Act of 2017.          
Section 110 of the Act, on personal responsibility for losses, states that a public office holder, public officer, or other person with responsibility for government resources shall be held personally responsible for any loss sustained by government due to acts of fraud or negligence on the part of that officer.


The Act further states that the determination of a loss under the section shall be made by the principal secretary in the ministry responsible for Finance who may consider the advice of the Losses Committee.


It further states that a corporation or any other legal entity shall, on conviction, be liable for contraventions of this section when committed by its organs or representatives in its name and in the collective interest of the entity if that entity has responsibility for government resources and causes loss sustained by the government due to acts of fraud or negligence on the part of the entity or acts of fraud or negligence on the part of any other entity or person, if it is found that the entity contributed to the loss by the action, negligence or omission of the entity.


Responsible


The committee shall comprise the principal secretary in the ministry responsible for Finance, the accountant general or a representative of the accountant general; the auditor general and a representative of the attorney general. 


Other members include the commissioner of police or a representative and the principal secretary in the ministry responsible for Public Works and Transport.
The Act states that a loss attributed to a person or an entity under Sections 110 to 112 shall be a debt due to the government and may be recovered from the person or the entity either administratively including by deductions from a salary or a payment due to the person or entity for any purposes, or through a court of competent jurisdiction by action instituted by the attorney general.


 The principal secretary in the ministry responsible for Finance shall provide a decision in writing to the person or entity found to have caused a loss, on the determination of the matter.

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