What CAG report signifies

  • Enhanced freedom, transparency, openness
  • Samia’s directives on ‘right of reply’ earn kudos
  • Pundits hail swift action, say report not final…

AFTER numerous flaws exposed by the 2021/22 report of the Controller and Auditor General (CAG), a cross-section of commentators have attributed the situation to increased freedom and transparency in auditing and reporting the results.

They argued the sixth-phase government has been more transparent and embracing openness, something which led to exposing the number of losses in government expenditure and revenue collections.

A Lecturer at the University of Dodoma (UDOM), Dr Paul Loisulie, was of the view that it was not that acts of misusing public funds that have increased in the sixth-phase government but rather freedom of reporting the audit findings has been promoted.

This gives an opportunity to the CAG to expose in public all weaknesses that were found during the auditing.

“Previously such information was hidden, but now we see an increased amount of information in the public domain and people become aware,” Dr Loisulie stated.

He further said President Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan has been quick to act on the report, with her decision to dissolve board of directors of the Tanzania Railway Corporation (TRC) and revoking appointment of the Chief Executive Officer of the Tanzania Government Flight Agency (TGFA).

His views were echoed by another academician, Dr Ellinami Minja, of the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), who argued that it was important that the CAG now enjoys freedom as stipulated in the law.

“The CAG has been freer to process information unlike previous,” he said, adding that with the increased social platforms the content of the report has also been widely published.

Since media freedom has also been promoted, this has enabled the journalists to report allegations raised by the CAG without fear of being banned.

After release of the report, the content has been extensively reported in the media, hence creating more public awareness unlike the previous.

Chairperson of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Ms Naghenjwa Kaboyoka, also agreed that if the CAG was not given freedom he would not audit and expose negative findings.

“President Dr Samia wants the CAG to speak out instead of remaining silent because she wishes to know areas of weaknesses, so that she could find solutions,” Ms Kaboyoka told the ‘Daily News.’

Executive Director of the Policy Forum, Mr Semkae Kilonzo, said the office of the CAG, like any Supreme Audit Institution (SAIs) in the world, can only operate effectively and independently to audit the use of public funds if there is accountability and transparency.

“In my view, I think in the recent financial years audited, the CAG had a fair amount of freedom and independence to execute his duties,” Mr Kilonzo pointed out.

He added: “Hopefully moving forward, there will be a universally accepted principle that for the CAG to operate effectively, the office’s independence and access to information will be promoted as well as the transparency in reporting the findings.

Furthermore, President Samia earns praises from ordinary people within and outside the country, especially neighbouring countries, for taking swift actions in response to CAG findings on misused funds.

Apart from dissolving board of directors of the TRC and revoking appointment of the TGFA, the Head of State also directed the Ministries, Permanent Secretaries to take legal actions against officials implicated in the report.

Ordinary citizens in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda posted their praises on social media.

Kenyan citizen Jibril Ndiema posted on his Twitter account commending Dr Samia for taking action against implicated executives.

Another Kenya, Farhiya Abass, a trader in Mombasa also posted, “Mama Suluhu is serious on this.”

Mr John Luke Tambiti, Executive Director of the INUA Initiative in Uganda, also praised President Samia for taking action against government officials involved in squandering public funds.

In Tanzania, too, citizens from different places expressed their feelings over president’s actions upon the CAG report.

“Actually, President Samia has responded to our outcry wanting to see stern actions against corrupt public officials,” commented Mr Francis Mwenegoha, a resident of Morogoro Region.

A legal expert, who preferred anonymity, argued that CAG reports do not mention names of individuals involved in squandering monies, but only exposes flaws in spending.

It then becomes a duty of law enforcers to take the report and investigate.

“People want the president to take actions, this is impossible,” a legal expert said.

However, the report has indicated that government institutions have increasingly improved performance in financial reporting.

The report states that 96.64 per cent of the audited institutions got unqualified opinions.

This type of audit opinion indicates that the auditors are satisfied with the company’s financial reporting.

Controller and Auditor General Charles Kichere at the State House in Dar es Salaam said that his office audited a total of 1045 institutions in 2021/22, out of which it issued unqualified opinions to1010 institutions, equivalent to 96.64 per cent.

Mr Kichere elaborated that out of the total institutions, 218 are under the Prime Minister’s Office (Regional Administration and Local Governments), out of them, 204 got unqualified opinions while the remaining 13 got qualified opinions and one received adverse opinion.

Also, out of the audited 203 public organisations, 196 were issued with unqualified opinions, the remaining got qualified (5) and others received disclaimer of opinions.

A total of 315 central government entities, 19 political parties and 290 development projects have also been audited.

The report indicates that in the Central Government, 309 had unqualified opinions, while those with adverse opinions were three and the other three had qualified opinions.

The CAG also audited 19 political parties, whereby 12 of them scooped unqualified opinions, adverse opinions (5), qualified opinion (1) and disclaimer of opinion (1).

The report, which was handed over to President Samia Suluhu Hassan, further showed that the CAG issued 29 qualified opinions, equivalent to 2.78 per cent.

The CAG also audited 290 development projects, with Mr Kichere pointing out that 287 of them had unqualified opinion, adverse opinion (3) and none got qualified opinion.

When received the report, President Samia directed the government to respond to the opinions of the CAG on audit reports

She added, “If the government takes longer to respond to the opinions, community members will take what the MPs say because the MPs will not know whether the government has responded or not.”

Related Articles

Back to top button