The former Chief Internal Auditor of the Central Water Authority (CWA), who has resigned, has identified a series of failings and practices that did not comply with the rules of good governance. Mandated to examine accounting practices and procedures surrounding tenders, she has produced a damning report in which she expresses severe criticism of the Internal Pipes Replacement Programme launched by the CWA under the leadership of Prakash Maunthrooa.

The funds allocated were not used exclusively to finance the programme

Initially, it was clearly stipulated that the department was to provide funds to finance the Internal Pipes Replacement Programme exclusively. However, the former Chief Internal Auditor found that this was not the case. Up to 11 December 2023, 44% of the payments made with these funds were for grant-funded projects. The Finance Division explained that the account would be replenished as soon as the grant funds were received from the department.

No separate bank account

One of the conditions was the requirement to maintain a separate bank account in order to effectively monitor funds allocated to the Internal Pipes Replacement Programme. However, the former Chief Internal Auditor noted that no separate bank account is used for this programme.

“The bank account currently in use also includes customer revenues and transfers for expenses not related to the internal project. According to feedback from the Finance Division, a new bank account has recently been opened with Absa Bank and will be used specifically for the internal duct replacement project.”

The author of the report thus highlighted that payments for the programme are not made directly from this bank account. “Instead, transfers of funds are made from this account to the CWA’s SBM account, where all other payments are made. This process is more costly (due to bank charges involved) and more time-consuming (reconciliation is required as payments for the internal project and other CWA expenditures are all mixed in the SBM bank account). For example, on October 19, 2023, Rs 20.9 million was transferred from BCP to the SBM account. This was used to pay the following bills in the SBM bank account,” she explained.

Failure to maintain proper accounting books and other records

The former Chief Internal Auditor found that there is no monthly cash flow forecast for the internal pipe replacement program to show the expenditures already incurred and the expenditures to be expected for the project. The report also states that transactions related to the program were not accounted for using a specific project code.

“As a result, we were unable to obtain a system-generated list of all purchases and issues from the store for this particular project. Daily records of materials used for pipe replacement were not maintained at the sites. The Finance Division created a project code so that transactions related to the internal project were accounted for separately,” notes the former Chief Internal Auditor.

Tender rules not always respected

The former Chief Internal Auditor said he observed that for some contracts, traditional manual tendering methods were used. According to the tendering department, it was not practical to use the e-Procurement system for these contracts.

No performance review committee created

It was stipulated that a performance review committee should be established to effectively monitor internal interventions and performance of entrepreneurs and SMEs. However, it was found that no such committee has been established.

“We found that the CWA has not complied with the terms and conditions of the agreement signed on September 25, 2023. Therefore, we do not recommend the application of the second tranche of funds from the department at this stage, until the above recommendations and appropriate actions are taken by the concerned division,” the former Chief Internal Auditor wrote.

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