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Durban - Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife has expressed concern at comments by the Standing Commission of Public Accounts (Scopa) about the state of its finances.
“The timing of Scopa's announcement... tended to overlook (our) open and constructive engagements with...the (provincial) treasury. The board and the executive management had long since been familiar with the report's content,” Ezemvelo CEO Bandile Mkhize said on Tuesday.
On Friday, Scopa ordered that the organisation's finances be taken over by the provincial treasury.
According to the Witness newspaper, an Auditor General's report on Ezemvelo's finances for the 2012/13 financial year found:
* R122.8 million underspending in the capital budget;
* R4m in irregular expenditure;
* insufficient evidence for selected contracts totalling R2.5m;
* insufficient audit evidence to determine R563.58m in adjustments to fixed assets;
* insufficient audit evidence to determine R55.44m in adjustment made in income recorded in financial statements; and
* leadership had not exercised oversight responsibility over financial matters.
The newspaper reported that Ezemvelo had been instructed to provide details of the irregular expenditure, and to refer to the integrity committee to review the charges and sanctions imposed against officials found guilty of stealing public funds.
Scopa member Belinda Scott had reportedly described the audit report as “absolutely appalling”.
Mkhize said the “commentary” about the organisation's financial position came as a surprise to him.
“After all, we (all) sat with the finance portfolio committee about two months ago and explained our challenges and they completely agreed with the path.. towards resolving these issues,” Mkhize said.
He said that being placed under the treasury's control, did not amount to an investigation into corruption, fraud or maladministration.
“While welcoming any assistance... it is more a case of the correct valuation of our fixed assets and redressing clumsy or inadequate reporting systems.”