Home Affairs exceeds budget vote by US$75m

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THE Ministry of Home Affairs exceeded its 2013 budget vote by more than US$75 million without parliamentary approval because of excess expenditure emanating from the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and the Registrar-General’s department, Auditor-General Mildred Chiri has revealed.

Owen Gagare

In her narrative report on appropriation accounts and miscellaneous funds for the year ended 2013, Chiri blasted such expenditure saying it constrained government financial resources.

ZRP was allocated US$282 million in the 2013 budget but spent US$364 million.

“Contrary to the provisions of Section 19 of the Public Finance Management Act (Chapter 22:19), the ministry’s vote as a whole was exceeded by US$75 163 544.

This was due to the ministry’s reliance on the use of the 2013 financial year supplementary estimates which had not been approved by parliament,” said Chiri.

“The excess expenditure originated from the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Department of the Registrar-General.”

Chiri said the ministry should liaise with Treasury for the expenditure to be regularised.

ZRP however denied overspending and insisted it had made a saving of US$6,3 million which was not released by Treasury.

“The Zimbabwe Republic Police disputes the observation by the external audit. Instead, the organisation understands itself to have made a purported total saving of US$6 388 983, an amount which remained unreleased by Treasury up to the financial year end,” the police said in response. “Under the circumstances, how the provisions of Section 19 of the Public Finance Mangement Act were violated by the department is an issue that remains disputable at law.”

The management response highlighted that ZRP was originally allocated US$281 871 000, before receiving US$5 million for elections and being allocated US$77,5 million in supplementary estimates bringing the revised total allocation to US$364 471 000. The organisation says it spent US$368 082 017, thereby falling short of its total allocation.

In her comment after receiving the response Chiri insisted the expenditure was irregular.

In June last year, the ZRP’s spending habits came under scrutiny when Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) commissioner-general Gershem Pasi told Parliament that the ZRP and Zimbabwe National Roads Authority should remit all the money they collect to Treasury.

He suggested that the police was collecting between US$3 million and US$7 million at roadblocks monthly — money which never finds its way to Treasury at a time government is financially hamstrung.

His revelations attracted a strong denial from the police, particularly from chief police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba. She, however, did not reveal the figures police were collecting, raising eyebrows.

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