A senior government official on Monday suggested that Auditor-General Mildred Chiri’s audit reports could not be trusted.
The acting Finance secretary, Zvinechimwe Churu, appeared before Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee to answer questions relating to issues of financial impropriety in his ministry where US$3,2 billion was unaccounted for in 2017 and 2018.
When Committee Chair, Tendai Biti reminded Churu that the AG (Chiri) in her report concluded that the Ministry made allocations of US$3,2 billion to line ministries, which had not even requested for the amounts and without providing her with supporting documents, Churu responded:
I am surprised by those audit observations by Chiri.
Biti advised Churu to withdraw his statement as he was implying that Chiri lacked integrity. Said Biti:
We cannot accept that you accuse the AG of lack of integrity and if you continue to do that then we are finished as a country because you cannot challenge audit reports.
We advise you that you withdraw any statement that seeks to impeach on, directly or indirectly an insinuated attack on the AG.
Churu however, denied that he was questioning Chiri’s integrity. He said:
I did not attack the AG. I am only saying can you also please give the Accountant-General in the Ministry of Finance Daniel Muchemwa the benefit of the doubt.
I have a lot of respect for this committee and MPs, but it is also unfair for MPs to say they have a position on my character.