The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Local Authority Accounts (LAAC) has said negligence among local government officials is the major cause for poor implementation of various projects and poor preparation of reports submitted to the committee.
The committee made its observation over the weekend when its members led by Vice Chairman Iddi Azan returned Tarime District Council officials back to the working station to prepare afresh reports of road projects implementation.
This anomaly prompted the committee to give an order to the Ministry of Regional Administration and Local Governments to slash by 15 per cent the salary for July of Tarime District Council’s Executive Director and the district engineer.
However, this paper could not establish how much the district executive director earns per month. According to Azzan, the two top district council officials were forced to carry the burden after presenting poorly prepared reports for road projects implemented by the council.
Speaking to The Guardian on the sidelines of the committee meeting, Azzan said that though the councils had qualified staff in various fields negligence was noted to be a chronic problem in any undertaking.
Several times LAAC returned local government officials from committee meetings for failure to submit proper reports on their project as well as the project contract.
Explaining the cause of the situation, LAAC Deputy Chairman, Idd Azzan, told The Guardian that negligence among local leaders brings about inefficient project implementation.
Azzan said that bad case studies presented before the committee by the various local leaders were not because of lack of experts in their areas but tied to the misuse of public funds, which compelled them to forge data so as to replace the amount taken. “Due to that reason, they just prepare reports by thinking that the committee will never observe such mistakes; that’s why they decided to come as they did,” he elaborated.
It was reported that there are serious weaknesses in council internal controls especially in contract and procurement management.
Mid this week, LAAC decided to punish the Tarime District Council Director and the District Engineer by deducting15 percent of their July salaries as part of accountability for presenting an unclear case study of the road project in the district, and faulty contracts.
The Tarime District Council presented a report of their roads project to the committee which according to the LAAC is a contradictory project report due to the fact that one road that is 44 km long was assigned to two contractors. They had not signed the contract presented before the committee.
A total amount of Sh 341 million had already been paid for the road project which is not completed, on the basis of the Tarime District Council report.
Similar cases have been reported were a number of local government officials have been punished by LAAC for failure to fulfill their responsibilities, resulting in poor or incomplete work.
Last week, Mafia and Rufiji district councils were also punished by the committee for failure of submitting their accounting reports on time, and some of their accounting was observed to be unclear.
According to the 2011 Financial Statement of Local Government Authorities by the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) various cases of corrupt nature concerning contract and procurement were reported.
In the report it was noted that village leadership and management do not have basic and formal technique for supervising various projects which are being implemented at the village level.
The report said that for some years now, weaknesses noted in the LGA internal control have been reported. These weaknesses are lack of IT policy, lack of business continuity and disaster recovery plan, and under-utilization or non-utilization of a proper accounting system.
Special audits were conducted in Sengerema, Ludewa, Kishapu, Kilindi, Moshi, Monduli, Longido and Ilala district councils for various reasons, the CAG report had indicated.
Those issues include double payment of retention money to contractors, some district employees being paid salaries above their approved scales, existence of salaries for employees who are no longer in service in certain districts, it said.
Other reasons cited include overpayment of contractors along with paying money for activities which have not been performed, it said.
CAG recommended strengthening internal control as a measure to correct the weaknesses noted in the normal and special audits.
He also recommended that council managements should introduce a simple training program which will help village leaders to properly supervise the implementation of development projects, the report added.