Friday, 17 October 2014

CAG wants more time to wind up IPTL audit

CAG wants more time to wind up IPTL audit

“But, the pending witness’s input won’t change the content of the report we are waiting for; his evidence is just part of the procedure to give the second party a chance to be heard...” Mr Zitto Kabwe, PAC Chairman 

In Summary
  • The auditors expression of need for “extra time” comes amidst mounting pressure from the public and donor community keen to know the outcome of the said investigations on controversial sale of IPTL
Dar es Salaam. The National Audit Office yesterday said it needs more time to complete investigations into the controversial sale of Independent Power Tanzania (IPTL) that led to the questionable withdrawal of Sh201 billion from an escrow account at the Bank of Tanzania (BoT).
This said need for extra time comes amidst mounting pressure from the public and donor community keen to know the outcome of the said investigations.
But the CAG office didn’t specify the amount of time it needs to wind up the matter.
However, Kigoma North MP, Mr Zitto Kabwe, who is also the Public Account Committee chair, who was the first to order the CAG to investigate the matter in April, said he was aware there was a witness from Oman who is expected to testify anytime this month.
Reacting to the CAG statement, Mr Kabwe said: “It’s true the CAG office has not completed its audit. For there’s a witness being awaited.”
Mr Kabwe, however, added: “But, the witness won’t change the content of the report; his evidence is just part of the procedure to give the second party a chance to be heard... the CAG report will be tabled and debated in Parliament in November.”
He further told The Citizen that the PAC was prepared to receive the report and work on it before tabling it in the august House since it is authority that ordered the investigation and therefore it has the mandate to determine when the CAG report on the matter should be tabled.
“In case there’ll be any delay or fishy move, PAC will go public and expose what’s going on,” he said.
The investigations were called by the Parliament and ministry of Energy and Minerals earlier this year after a protracted House debate that saw MPs from both Opposition and ruling party join forces in pressuring the government to elaborate the matter.
The investigation on Tegeta escrow account at BoT  is conducted based on the terms of references set by the Parliament and the Energy ministry. But according to the statement, the terms alone could not show the magnitude of the workload, and it has transpired that the task was more demanding than anticipated.   
It is understood that the then head of agency Mr Ludovick Utouh, back in March, requested 45 days for the job.
“The need to get concrete information has necessitated more time. We need information from key individuals from government institutions, public institutions, and private sector within the country and abroad,” reads the statement in part.

The statement, however, notes that investigations on track and only a few areas haven’t been sorted out. The President is yet to appoint a successor to Mr Utouh.
In addition to the terms of reference, the statement says the investigations are being conducted in accordance with Section 29 of The Public Audit Act, 2008, which empowers the CAG to undertake any other type of audit as he may deem fit.
Chapter 2 of the Section that empowers the CAG, on request by any person, institution, public authorities, ministries, departments, agencies, local government authorities and such other bodies to undertake any special audit, was applied in IPTL saga and it was the Parliament and Ministry of Energy and Minerals that requested the audit.
The law outlines three specific types of audit which are Regularity Audit, Forensic Audit and Performance Audit.
In quick response to the National Audit Office’s statement, Kigoma South MP David Kafulila who has been on the frontline in the IPTL saga, said he would table a private motion in Parliament over the matter.
“The statement proves that there is something fishy going on—back in March 20, the CAG asked for 45 days but more than 200 days have passed and we are still being told they need more time without being specific,” he said.
Last week, the donor community under the umbrella of Development Partners (DPs) confirmed to The Citizen that  they are withholding funds meant to support the 2014/15 Budget pending the release of  two probe reports (one of them the CAG’s) on the $250 million in escrow monies.

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