Govt auditors in double dipping storm
GOVERNMENT auditors assigned to inspect schools countrywide are reportedly double dipping as they get paid by individual schools for their services despite being on national duty with fully paid travel and subsistence allowances.
School heads attending the National Association of Primary Heads (Naph) conference in Victoria Falls yesterday alleged that they were being made to pay about $250 to a team of auditors whenever it visits schools.
The headmasters raised concern over the double dipping soon after a chief internal auditor in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Mr Nicholas Shuva presented a paper on critical financial supervision skills.
“Who should pay auditors for auditing schools? Each time they come to our schools we are asked to pay them for their services.
“Don’t they have their own travel and subsistence allowances because paying them is like paying police to mount a road block?” quizzed one headmistress.
There was debate on the issue as school heads demanded clarity on whether they should pay. Another headmaster said: “Auditors and district schools inspectors (DSIs) are both Government workers but why should auditors be paid while DSIs don’t demand anything.
“We are forced to pay $250 and you can imagine how much they get from say 100 schools they can visit in a district.”
Participants said they had no problems paying private auditors but were failing to understand why Government officers who are on the state’s payroll get money from schools.
An auditor in the Education Ministry, Mr Mlamuli Moyo, said if ever some auditors were demanding or accepting money from schools, that was not allowed.
“What you are paying for is not for auditing but for their upkeep. Their upkeep includes lunch, supper and accommodation.
“Auditors are paid by the Public Service and sometimes schools are only asked to facilitate an administration fee,” said Mr Moyo.
“There seems to be a misunderstanding which I think emanated from the way the information was disseminated.
“The whole issue started when mission schools offered to pay something to be audited but in essence no school is expected to pay for the auditors.”
He added: “Auditors aren’t supposed to get any money. What you only incur is for their upkeep and if they are demanding any money that can’t be condoned. Their allowances should go through the district offices.”
Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Mr Josephat Mudavanhu said he will forward the headmasters’ concerns to the ministry to deal with the matter.
Government instituted an extensive audit of its schools countrywide after it was realised that they had gone for years without their books being checked, amid allegations of abuse of funds — @ncubeleon.