Minister tasks PCCB to work on co-op fraud

27Nov 2019
The Guardian Reporter
Dodoma
The Guardian
Minister tasks PCCB to work on co-op fraud

AGRICULTURE Minister Japhet Hasunga has tasked the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) to investigate embezzlement of 124.05bn/- unveiled in the 2018/2019 cooperative unions audit report.

Hasunga said yesterday that the government had directed the Cooperative Audit and Supervision Corporation (COASCO) to audit all registered cooperative unions for the 2018/2019 financial year.

There are 11,410 registered cooperatives and of that number active cooperatives are 6,463 and 2,844 are inactive ones, while those that cannot be traced are 2,103l units.

The minister said that until June 30th2019, COASCO had audited 4,313 cooperatives, equivalent to 102.63 percent of the government target to audit 4,300 cooperatives.

“I am handing over to PCCB the list of cooperatives with an adverse opinion report. We have discovered gross embezzlement of public funds and we are going to deal with the cooperative boards.”

The missing monies should be traced and returned to members, the minister intoned.

He stated that out of the 4,423 audited cooperatives, 303 cooperatives (6.87 percent) received a clean opinion, 2,378 cooperatives (53.89 percent) received doubtful opinion and 879 cooperatives (19.32 percent) received adverse opinion reports.

Out of 38 secondary cooperatives, four received clean opinion reports, 22 received doubtful opinion reports and nine received adverse opinion reports.

The apex cooperative – Shirikisho-TFC received a clean opinion report including money in the bank (1.53bn/-) that was not accounted for and not shown in its accounts reports.

As to Agricultural Marketing Cooperative Societies (AMCOS) Hasunga said out of the 2,710 societies that were audited, 15 received clean reports, 1,347 received doubtful reports, 599 received unsatisfactory reports and 749 societies received adverse opinion reports.

“The main problems with AMCOS is failure to keep books of accounts, many payments had no supporting documents, poor accounting control and officials not being professional and diligent enough,” he affirmed.

On the Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (Saccos), he said out of 1,448 Saccos that were audited, 261 received clean opinion reports, 887 received doubtful reports, 218 received unsatisfactory reports and 82 received adverse reports.

“The major problem with the Saccos is failure to properly keep books of accounts, while members fail to pay back in time loans advanced to them. There are also delays in submitting members’ deductions,” the minister noted.

Hasunga said during normal auditing for the year in question the money that was suspiciously expended or embezzled was 87.6bn/-, while loss incurred due to negligence was 22.8bn/- and outright theft was 2.8bn/-.

However, during the special audit conducted by COASCO, the money that was suspiciously embezzled was put at 6.2bn/-, with loss incurred due to negligence standing at 2.6bn/- and outright theft 1.7bn/-, hence total money embezzled was 124.05bn/-.

He said a total of 682 cooperatives refused to submit books of accounts for auditing.

Speaking shortly after receiving the audit report, PCCB Director Brig. Gen John Mbungo said the bureau has the authority to deal with issues of embezzlement, calling upon all those involved to start paying back the money or legal action will be unleashed against them.

“We will conduct thorough investigations and we’ll leave no stone unturned. All those involved in embezzlement should be cautioned of the consequences awaiting them,” the PCCB executive underlined.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Cooperative Union of Tanzania (CUT) Dr Titus Kamani said the cooperatives commission will offer full cooperation to ensure appropriate steps are taken against the perpetrators.