Friday, November 05, 2010

Financial irregularities at Judiciary worry PAC

Financial irregularities at Judiciary worry PAC
By Florence Bupe
Fri 05 Nov. 2010, 03:59 CAT

THE parliamentary public accounts committee (PAC) has expressed concern at the failure by the Judiciary to adhere to financial regulations.

Speaking when the Judiciary appeared before the committee to respond to queries highlighted in the Auditor General’s report on Wednesday, PAC member Highvie Hamududu said it was worrying that the custodians of the law were failing to observe it.

“It is disappointing that the Judiciary has continued to appear before this committee to respond to the same queries year after year. We are always talking about issues of unretired imprest, failure to prepare financial statements and other such important requirements of the law,” he said.

Hamududu warned that the Judiciary’s inability to observe financial laws would have a negative spiral effect on the governance of other institutions.

Hamududu observed that officials in the Judiciary were mandated to lead by example by adhering to various aspects of the law but said this was not the case obtaining on the ground.

And PAC chairperson Emmanuel Hachipuka expressed surprise at Judiciary chief accountant Godwin Sakwimba’s explanation on the anomaly of 78 missing payment vouchers.

Sakwimba explained that of the 78 vouchers discovered to be missing, one had been found and the rest were in the custody of courts of law and the police.
However, the members wondered how the Judiciary could allow the police to ‘forcefully’ obtain the payment vouchers, which were the property of the Judiciary without signing for them.

“How can you allow the police to come and intimidate you when you’re the custodians of the law? If that’s what they did then they are breaking the law by getting vouchers without allowing you to keep copies for your own protection,” said Hachipuka.

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