Audit Committee Wags Finger at Addis Ababa University


A report by the Auditor General showed huge gaps in the University's practices




Addis Ababa University (AAU) has been warned by a parliamentary standing committee to address financial irregularities starting with its misty finance administration system, and up to illegitimate transactions which involved around 1.5 billion Br.

AAU presented its performance to the parliamentary standing committee on Public Expenditures Administration & Regulation on April 10, 2017, after the recommendations of the Auditor General.

A sample report of the 2014/15 audit by the Auditor General disclosed the massive financial problems from six colleges and institutes. The uncovered issues include payments for ghost workers, unlawful bids, unproven expenses, transactions recorded inappropriately in financial statements, untimely payments and erroneous bookkeeping.

More than others, the main campus and the Institute of Technology were said to have the most serious audit problems.

Teething troubles were present because of deep rooted old finance and procurement systems of the University which had not changed since its establishment, according to Admassu Tsegaye (Prof.), president of the University.

“We also have an understaffed finance and procurement administration unit and we need a modernized system,” Admassu explained before the Committee.

“In addition, the autonomy given to institutes of the University has created administrative inconveniences which have reduced my executive power to control their activities in the area,” he said.

However, the reasoning was not accepted by the Committee.

“The so-called unlimited autonomy of the institutes has no legal ground,” the members stated. Directives establishing the autonomies of the institutes are unlawful from the beginning as they are not directed from the Council of Ministers, according to them.

The Auditor General will now follow up not only to make sure requirements are met but also whether the money that is required to be returned does so.

“If not, we will report to the Parliament,” warned Gemechu Dubisso, the General Auditor.

By the same token, the Public Procurement & Property Disposal Agency complained about the University’s refusal to use the less costly procurements through the Agency and present its procurement plans on time.

AAU is one of the 37 institutions found to have serious deficits in audits, out of the 439 offices that were audited by the Auditor General in the 2014/15 fiscal year.

Currently, the University has adopted an action plan in line with the report of the Auditor, earning it praise from the Committee for its quick actions.

“We accept the problems and the administration will work strongly to rectify our flaws and become one of the leading universities of Africa,” said Admassu.

The university has recently won, with other African universities, support from the World Bank to create a Center of Excellence. To use the support, the university must create a clean audit report, according to Admassu.

Currently, AAU receives a budget close to four billion Br from the government. In addition it obtains donations from varying partners and supporters. Through its colleges and institutes, AAU furnishes about 290 study programs and runs 70 doctoral programs. The university also has around 16,000 post-graduate students.



By BINYAM HAILEMESKEL
FORTUNE STAFF WRITER

Published on Apr 14,2017 [ Vol 17 ,No 884]


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