ACCOUNTANT-General Daniel Muchemwa has been ordered by Parliament to produce and publish government’s consolidated financial statements for 2016 and 2017 before year-end.
BY FIDELITY MHLANGA
Muchemwa, who on Monday appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Accounts, admitted to bungling on the part of Treasury.
“The annual consolidated financial statements for 2016 and 2017 are not yet ready. There are one or two things which had to be done with the line ministries’ consent,” Muchemwa said.
Chairperson of the committee Tendai Biti, who served as Finance minister in the Government of National Unity between 2009 and 2013, expressed displeasure at the state of government’s books.
Biti also asked why government was failing to gazette term sheets of loans contracted by Treasury within 60 days as prescribed by law.
After the committee meeting, Biti told Muchemwa that the committee was not satisfied by his submissions and instructed him to come prepared at a later date with more officials from the Finance ministry.
“We express great disappointment and sadness in your person as the Accountant-General in failing to answer the questions we were asking you. We have come to the conclusion that there is no point in going on with the discussion. Your responses are frightening and in some instances they are actually reflecting either lack of total understanding of what we were asking or deliberate misrepresentation,” Biti said.
“So, we have resolved that we will summon the (Finance ministry) permanent secretary, yourself, your deputy, head of public debt office in the Ministry of Finance and any other relevant officers to be back to this committee on Monday, December 17, 2018 where we will question you on issues of compliance. Compliance with the Constitution, with the Public Finance Management Act, RBZ Act, Public Debt Management Act and any other law in Zimbabwe.”
The committee also queried why the blue book had put total public debt at $9,2 billion, yet in the budget statement the figure is stated as $17,6 billion.