Finance Ministry Gobbles $10.6b In Unauthorised Expenditure – Biti

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By Anna Chibamu

THE finance ministry has been accused of using US$10.6 billion between 2015 and 2018 outside budget allocations and without the approval of Parliament.

This emerged Monday during the hearing of the proposed Finance Adjustment Bill before the Public Accounts Portfolio Committee (PAC) chaired by MDC Alliance Vice President Tendai Biti.

Biti described Treasury’s decision as a “massive invasion of the Constitution” as the finance ministry used “abnormal finances outside the budget allocation”.

According to the former finance minister, the constitution was ignored as the ministry spent funds recklessly even after Auditor-General Mildred Chiri had, in her audit reports, exposed the over-expenditure figures.

Biti told senior officials from the finance ministry led by chief director of expenditure management, Pfungwa Kunaka that Treasury should have followed the law.

“The over expenditure by the Finance ministry was a massive invasion of the Constitution. This was outside the allocated budget. This is a deficit on top of a deficit. Very abnormal. These amounts are extraordinary,” Biti said.

In response, Kunaka indicated to the committee his ministry now fully understood the expectations of PAC.

“Treasury now fully appreciates the expectations of PAC, in particular the need to bring this Financial Adjustment Bill to closure,” he said.

Most of the financial anomalies of the US$10.6b expenditure were carried out during the controversial government-sponsored Command Agriculture Programme.