By Alois Vinga
THE Public Service Commission (PSC) has failed to avail supporting documentation to prove it used ZWL$2,5 billion on civil servants’ salaries in 2020, with Salary Services Bureau (SSB) schedules indicating government employees shared only 9% of that.
The shocking details were revealed by the Auditor General, Mildred Chiri, in her latest audit report tabled in the National Assembly last week.
Chiri said in the report there was a realistic risk the funds were embezzled.
“In terms of total government employment costs, the amount paid by the SSB was 9% of what the Commission paid, which was 91%. The total employment costs reported by the Commission amounted to $2 732 262 069 which did not tally with the total on the SSB payroll print out figure of $221 446 282,” Chiri said.
This, Chiri said, resulted in an unreconciled variance of ZW$2,5 billion for the same period, prompting the country’s top auditor to decline confirming the accuracy of the expenditure on compensation of employees costs disclosed in the financial statements.
She underscored that the risks are that it may be difficult to state with certainty the exact employment costs incurred by the Ministry during the financial year under review.
“Also, without reconciliations, it may be difficult to confirm whether bonafide employees were paid,” she said.
Responding to the AG’s recommendation for the commission to engage the SSB in order to reconcile the variance of ZWL$2,5 billion between its accounting records and records maintained by SSB, the Ministry justified the expenditure saying the variance was in respect of ZWL$23 215 209 COVID-19 allowances paid in foreign currency (USD) for the months June, July and August 2020.
They also claimed that the other difference was in respect of payments for employer obligations like PSMAS and NSSA. The reconciliation schedule is available for inspection.
But Chiri could still not buy the explanations, instead demanding much more detailed supporting evidence.
“There is still a need for the management to furnish the auditor with supporting documents of other related employment costs.
“There is a need to have all costs processed through SSB to ensure completeness and effective control as the figure at SSB is only 9% of what the Commission paid, which is 91%,” she added.