A performance audit report on the eﬃciency and eﬀectiveness of the public procurement and asset disposal system in Lobatse Town Council has exposed gross negligence at the council.
At the forefront is the LTC’s inability to develop the procurement plans as stipulated in the LAPAD Act No.17 of 2008. According to interviews with diﬀerent oﬃcers and documents reviewed, the oﬃce of the auditor general noticed that the procuring entities had not developed the procurement plans with no reasons given. Absence of the plans, states the report, may result in the procuring entities undertaking the procurement activities haphazardly, thus aﬀecting eﬃcient control of funds.
The LTC had not utilised approximately 16 percent funds of the ﬁnancial years 2009/2010 and 2010/11. The report states that the plans would have acted as a guide to assist the council to achieve its procurement ideals. It would have also provided direction and focus in delivering works, supplies and services. Tere were also deﬁciencies with eﬀect to honouring of contract obligations. Documents reviewed and interviews with procuring entities reSebopeng is retiring aﬅer 31 years of public service. He is ready for the development. “I’m a businessman by nature and naturally, a farmer,” he says. Sebopeng, who joined the oﬃce in 1983 as an assistant auditor, leaves public service on June 19, 2014.
From assistant auditor, he rose through the ranks until his appointment as acting auditor general in 2008 when the then auditor general Pelonomi Namogang, retired. He acted on the position for two years and was appointed in 2010. He is conﬁdent that he has amassed a lot of knowledge, which will come in handy in his future exploits. However, the retirement is somewhat of a relief for him considering the number of challenges he has had to endure.
STAFFING CRISIS WILL AFFECT EFFICIENCY
In his last report to the nation (March 2013), Sebopeng says he had to double up as deputy auditor general as there was no oﬃcer appointed to perform the functions of that oﬃce. This persisted until another officer was appointed deputy on acting basis, later to be confirmed in 2012 and retire the following year. Sebopeng laments that since then, the position is filled by acting appointments.
In addition to the 200 employees in the Gaborone oﬃce, the Oﬃce of Auditor General (OAG) has around 20 people at the Francistown oﬃce. The auditor vealed delays in delivering supplies and services within stipulated times. For example, the rehabilitation and service of screw pumps which was awarded on September 28, 2009 was scheduled to be completed on October 21, 2009.
However, the services completion period was extended to November 13, 2009. Te anomaly was due to unavailability of material to complete the work as material suppliers were in South Africa, according to documents. The auditor general recommends that the procuring entities should ensure that companies awarded tenders are eligible to provide goods and services within the agreed period.
SUPPLIES WITHOUT BIDDING CONTRACTS’ OBLIGATIONS
It was also found that LTC awarded tenders for the supply of goods (cleaning commodities) amounting to P402679.10 without signed contracts. According to management, this oddity was attributed to inadvertency on their part to ensure that contracts were signed between the council and the various suppliers. Tere were also accusations on inadequate reporting and monitoring which needs to be addressed to enable the entire realisation of procurement and asset disposal system’s aims and beneﬁts. On other issues, the report lambasted the evaluation committee members, which put them on the spot for lack of transparency and accountability.
MISMANAGEMENT OF RECORDS
The audit revealed that the LTC had not adequately maintained records of procurement and disposal proceedings and contract management as per the requirements of the procurement procedures. For instance, documents on payment to suppliers, evaluation and adjudication proceedings, schedules and deferrals of evaluation committee’s meetings, termination of contracts and contracts documents for the years under review were not availed for audit.