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OVER E35 MILLION GOES MISSING FROM OIL FUND

By Mbono Mdluli | 2018-03-05

AN amount of E35 820 907 .39 was transferred from the Strategic Oil Reserve Fund without following proper procedures guiding such a process.

Compounding matters is that the ministry of natural resources entrusted with the funds is failing to account for the taxpayers’ money.

The money was transferred on August 25, 2016 and based on interest rates, it had earned an interest amounting to E1 077 571 .41 by February 24, 2017, six months later.

This, according to the auditor general’s report tabled in parliament last week, represented three per cent on the principal amount.

The auditor general, according to the report for the financial year ended March 31, 2017, was not given any documentation supporting or explaining the transfer of the huge funds.

This was despite the fact that the public accounts committee (PAC) ordered that the Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy Principal Secretary (PS) Winnie Stewart should give the auditor general an authority explaining that the withdrawal and transfer was done under the warrant of the ministry of finance.

Stewart failed to provide the auditor general with such an authority, according to the report. The report is yet to be deliberated upon by parliament through the PAC.  By December 7, 2017, the withdrawal authorisation had still not been availed before the AG. In previous correspondences between the PS and the AG’s office, according to the report, the PS explained that the money transferred from the fund was invested but never provided the needed proof.

There was nothing to substantiate that, hence the AG could not be able to confirm the said investments. In the AG’s eyes, the money was taken illegally.

In response, Stewart said she had written to the ministry of finance requesting that they should urgently develop the withdrawal authorisation instrument, which would authenticate the investments.

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