Pan African Parliament adopts the Report of the Committee on Audit and Public Accounts - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Thursday, October 10, 2019

Pan African Parliament adopts the Report of the Committee on Audit and Public Accounts

The Pan African Parliament on Wednesday considered and adopted the report of the Committee on Audit and Public Accounts (CAPA) which was generated from the Sittings of the Committee held from August 5 to 8, 2019 to review audit reports on the activities of the Pan African Parliament.
Presenting the 33 page Committee Report, the Chairperson Hon. Sekou Fantamadi TRAORE disclosed that the Committee reviewed the audit reports of the Office of the Internal Audit of PAP and the Board of External Auditors whose function it is to audit the accounts of the African Union (AU). The documents reviewed by the Committee included the Report of the Board of External Auditors of the AU on PAP for the year ended 31st December 2018; the Office of Internal Audit Report on Budget Implementation of PAP for the Year ended 31st December 2018 and the implementation status of the recommendations of the CAPA and Board of External Auditors from October 2016 to May 2019.
Issues relating to the services of the PAP
Hon. Traore stated that the audit review revealed that PAP does not have a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) and Business Continuity Plan (BCP) in place. He disclosed that the essence of the DRP and BCP is to “safeguard the activities of the Parliament and ensure that disruption of its activities is mitigated in the event of any unforeseen event that may impact on its ability to continue in existence or functioning as an organ of the AU”.
The CAPA Report noted that in the event of any disaster, the work of PAP will be negatively affected and may constitute a threat to its ability to render services pursuant to its mandate. The Committee therefore recommended that work on the DRB and BCP should be expedited and properly communicated to every member of staff so as to safeguard the activities of the Parliament and ensure that disruption of activities is mitigated in the event of any threat to business continuity.
High turnover of Clerks of Parliament
The Report also highlighted the high turnover of Clerks of Parliament which in its opinion may lead to ineffectiveness of the PAP operations. It also contended that the Bureau having the power to terminate the employment of the Clerk, may undermine the independence of the Clerk and the ability of the Secretariat to discharge its duties and therefore recommended that the position of the Clerk should be protected to ensure stability and effective service delivery in the administration of PAP.
The Committee also recommended that the appointment and removal of Clerks should be done through due process as prescribed in the African Union Staff Regulations and Rules, 2010. CAPA also recommended that the roles of the President of the Parliament and the Clerk should be clearly delineated in accordance with the provisions of Rules 17 and 21 of the Parliament’s Rules of Procedure.
Non-compliance with AU Procurement approval process
The Report noted that a review of the procurement made in respect of the First Ordinary Session of the Fifth Parliament in October 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda showed that the amount spent for such items as procurement of accommodations, conference facilities, interpretation equipment were not approved by the Internal Procurement Committee (IPC)of PAP. The Report noted that the IPC was only consulted after the contracts had been signed noting that the amount involved was above the PAP approved threshold of $100,000 as provided in the AU Procurement Mannual.
This posed a risk of over-estimation and over-payment of expenses with the attendant negative publicity to the PAP and possibly resulting in Development Partners and other stakeholders not having confidence in the ability of the parliament to manage its funds to achieve value for money. CAPA therefore recommended that PAP management should always adhere to the procurement process outlined in the AU Procurement Manual pointing out that poor and late planning results in hasty and expensive procurement decisions such as what happened in Kigali.
Inadequate staffing of PAP Secretariat
CAPA reported that during its interactions with the Management staff of PAP, it discovered that all the units in PAP are facing inadequate staffing situation. It also noted that the current staff structure which was approved by the AU Policy organs in 2012 was the proposed structure at the beginning of the Parliament in 2004 and has therefore become grossly inadequate to support the current level of operations and activities of the parliament.
It therefore recommended that action should be expedited on the review of the structure of the Parliament and vacant positions existing in the present structure should be filled. It also urged the Management to explore the possibility of temporary short-term employment of staff in areas requiring urgent attention.
Overview of the 2018 PAP Budget and its implementation
The CAPA Report stated that the overall budget utilization rate achieved by the PAP in 2018 was 73% and that operational budget utilization rate was 83% while the execution rate was 19%. This posed the risk of budget cuts by the AU Policy Organs and recommended that the management of PAP needs to identify the reasons why it could not achieve the expected threshold and the impact on the programs and activities of the Parliament.
Delays in the implementation of audit recommendations
A review of the Consolidated Report of the CAPA implementation level of on audit issues raised from October 2016 to May 2018 showed that 45 out of 66 recommendations were neither implemented nor in progress. It noted that the AU Executive Council had during its 31st Ordinary Session took a decision to institute financial sanctions for non-performance of departments  both in terms of the rate of their previous budget execution and the implementation rate of audit recommendations.
The Committee noted that PAP is already suffering the consequence of non-implementation of audit recommendations as the budget presented by PAP was cut by the Executive Council and therefore recommended that PAP’s Bureau should ensure that the Internal Audit Progress Committee performs its role effectively.  
Contributing to the debates after the presentation of the CAPA report, Hon. Abdallah Barkat IBRAHIM (Djibouti) questioned the low implementation of the budget and called for serious sanction on those who have been found wanting by the audit report. Hon. Gloriose NIMENYA (Burundi) commended CAPA for a job well done and called for measures to ensure that mistakes of the past do not reoccur. NIMENYA noted the shortage of staff and urged adherence to AU Rules and Regulations on staff recruitment
In his contribution, Hon. Toussant MANGA (Senegal) called for the enlargement of the number of parliamentarians in CAPA above the current 15 members in view of the enormity of their responsibility. He stated that the poor implementation of the program budget could be attributed to lack of planning, noting that planning is very important if PAP is to execute its mandate. Hon. MANGA then suggested that each Committee should be informed of its budget amount to enable it to begin to plan on how to carry out its programs ahead of time.

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