Auditor General Reprimands Oldest University for Audit Gap


The report reveals that AAU has over 911 million Br worth of audit gap in the 2015/16 fiscal year




Close to 911 million Br of an audit gap was reported at the oldest higher learning institution in Ethiopia, Addis Abeba University (AAU). The Office of the Federal Auditor reported the gap in the 2015/16 fiscal year.

The report was made to the parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Expenditures, Administration & Regulation on May 25, 2018, chaired by Woyinshet Gelessu, head of the Committee.

The management of the University gave its response after questions were raised by members of the Standing Committee and representatives of governmental institutions including the Ministry of Finance & Economic Cooperation (MoFEC), Office of the Attorney General, Federal Ethics & Anti-Corruption Commission and Ministry of Education (MoE).

The report highlighted alleged illegitimate procurements, bloated salaries and benefits, uncollected accounts, unaccounted and unproven expenses and mismanagement of properties as the basis of the audit gaps.

The audit gaps were found at the main campus of the University, Institute of Technology and College of Natural Science which accounted for 704 million Br, 153 million Br and 54 million Br of audit gaps, respectively.

The Auditor General, Gemechu Dubisso, criticised the management of the main campus for procurements that allegedly skirt the rules of the tender process, inflated salaries and benefits of nearly two million Birr paid that violate the finance proclamation.

The report also showed that there were uncollected accounts of nearly 20 million Br, as a result of weak contract administration with building contractors, and close to 680 million Br worth of an audit gap that has risen from loose financial management and poor collection of data on unsettled accounts.

Illegitimate procurements were said to be major shortcomings of the Institute of Technology also – standing at nearly 9.5 million Br mostly for violation of tender rules. Unaccounted and unproven expenses of nearly 100 million Br, made without reporting to MoFEC, were also highlighted.

The Universty’s College of Natural Science had a 13.2 million Br worth of an audit gap as a result of unaccounted expenses, overtime payments and illegal procurements that violate the financial and tender laws. There is also an uncollected account of 41.3 million Br which had to be collected within the budget year.

Mismanagement of properties was shown as a recurrent failure at the University related to poor record keeping, identification of operational and disposable goods and processing of ownership of vehicles.

The audit report summarised the gaps as emanating from lacklustre efforts by the management of the University to correct the 2014/15 fiscal year audit gaps.

The Auditor General recommended that the management of the University corrects the gaps and hold those responsible for the violation of the rules and procedures to be held accountable. A similar sentiment was reflected by the representatives of the attending government and the Committee members.

“The standing committee is very disappointed,” said Woyinshet.

Last year, the Office of the Auditor General discovered 1.4 billion Br of audit irregularities at the University for the 2014/15 fiscal year, which led AAU to hire a local consultant, Merit Management Consultancy.

The consultant has developed and submitted a draft report to the university management for reviews and discussions.

Recently, the Auditor General had reported that Meqelle University has a 64 million Br audit gap in the 2015/16 fiscal year. Last year alone, 3.7 billion Br worth of audit gaps were discovered at 10 public universities.



By BERHANE HAILEMARIAM
FORTUNE STAFF WRITER

Published on May 26,2018 [ Vol 19 ,No 943]


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