THE government has lost a whopping M1, 48 billion to corruption and under collection of revenues over three financial years running from 2013/14 to 2015/16.
This was revealed by the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in its report on the consolidated financial statements of the government for the corresponding three years, which was tabled before the National Assembly on Friday.
The purpose of presenting the report to the National Assembly is so that appropriate measures by concerned government institutions can be taken against corrupt officials.
The PAC is a sessional committee of the parliament of Lesotho, which considers the financial statements and accounts of all government ministries and departments, executive organs of state, courts, authorities and commissions established by the two houses of parliament.
It also considers any audits issued on the financial statements, accounts or reports referred to it by the house, the Speaker or Standing Orders.
The PAC may also report on any of the financial statements, accounts or reports consider by it to the House, or initiate any investigations in its area of competence.
And on Friday, the PAC said the government has lost M1 479 049 462, 60 through corruption.
“The PAC wishes to bring to the attention of this honorable house and the whole nation the lost funds due to corruption and laxity to collect revenue by some line ministries and departments and reiterate the gravity of poor internal controls across the board,” the report said.
“It should be borne in mind that the above figure is the minimum. It is the amount discovered by the committee only on the areas where it was able to touch.
“Most of the funds were lost due to corruption as evidenced by criminal and fraudulent cases perpetrated by the public officers.
“Another significant loss pertains to the taxes, royalties and dividends that the government is supposed to collect from mining companies, parastatals and other state owned enterprises.”
In its recommendation, the committee said internal controls and sanctions must be tightened across board to deter public officers from misusing the funds.
“In short, Lesotho could do better if line ministries could adhere to their mandates and strive to meet their target revenue. The internal controls and sanctions must be tightened across board because officers intentionally override the controls and expose the public funds to misappropriation, theft and misuse,” the report said.