• PAC takes exception to omission on DISS funding
• P12m diverted to DISS not yet returned to Disaster Fund
• PS promises re-submit report
Tati East legislator Guma Moyo on Thursday lashed out at officials of the Office of the President for ‘cooking the books’ and deliberately avoiding to account for money which was taken from the National Disaster Relief Fund to help set up the Directorate of Intelligence and Security.
Moyo accused the Office of the President of falsifying accounting books which are examined by the Public Accounts Committee every year. According to Moyo, although this anomaly was picked up by the Public Accounts Committee before and the OP instructed to rectify it, they again ignored it last year and had wanted to make the matter disappear for good this year by falsifying the books. “You have deliberately omitted the matter thinking it will die,” charged Moyo.
Appearing before the PAC, Permanent Secretary at the OP, Kebonye Moepeng, was at pains to explain how the Disaster Management Fund accounts were balanced off without the monies being paid back. She told the PAC that she had thought the issue had been addressed.
She, however, admitted that there were errors in their accounting books and committed to make some corrections and re-submit the report which includes how the money was used.
The Office of the President was in 2008 slammed for diverting close to P12.4 million in the accounts of the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) from its intended use to the formation of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS).
The Auditor-General on the Accounts of the Botswana Government for the Financial Year ended 31st March 2008 revealed that the hasty inception of the country’s secret service, on the eve of Khama’s ascension to the highest office, led to the use of unauthorised funds as there was no accounting code for an otherwise nonexistent department. The initial funds, which were required for the startup of the DISS, totaled P24 321 275.“However, the actual DISS expenditure charged to the Fund amounted to P36 695 455, which resulted in undervaluing the NDRF by P12 374 180,” stated part of the Report.
Meanwhile, Moepeng told the PAC that her ministry through the National Strategy Office was currently working on modalities of Vision beyond 2016. According to Moepeng, they have already consulted the core thematic groups across government. She also said that they have also consulted with the Vision 2016 Council. She also highlighted that the nation has to be consulted on the matter too, and currently a task team that will carry out the consultations is being assembled.
Though she acknowledged that the Vision 2016 review has not been completed, Moepeng said that information that could guide on how far the developments are, had already been compiled. “I wouldn’t say a comprehensive report has been done,” she said.
On the live broadcasting of parliamentary proceedings, Moepeng told the PAC that though the expectation is that since parliament has agreed on matter, it then should be implemented, Moepeng said the Department of Broadcasting Services was looking at the modalities on how best to do it.” Once ready we will communicate the final decision with parliament,” said Moepeng.
When Selebi-Phikwe East Member of Parliament Dithapelo Keorapetse put it to her that his ministry lacked coordination and asked her to confirm if the high number of departments housed under her ministry constrained her to execute her ministerial mandate, Moepeng indicated that much as it may seem the number was high she was managing them well.
She explained that the ministerial role was to coordinate, and this is going on well. “Our role at the ministry is to give guidance on policy. Currently we are even looking into outsourcing some services which we feel are not our core mandate,” she said.