The District Development Fund has been rapped for failing to account for fuel worth $1,6 million amid indications that individuals within the entity were drawing huge quantities of fuel equivalent to an allocation of a Government ministry, an audit has revealed.
Auditor-General Mrs Mildred Chiri said there was rampant abuse of fuel by officials and more than 6 000 litres of fuel drawn in one month could not be accounted for. This is contained in her 2014 audit report tabled in the National Assembly recently by Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa.
“Officials drew excessive fuel during the month of December 2012 and it was not clear what the fuel was being used for. In some instances the same officials would draw fuel which in other ministries or Government departments can be allocated for the whole month, but in the case of DDF, the fuel would be drawn once or twice a day,” said Mrs Chiri.
“I was concerned that officers would use the same vehicle or change vehicles more than once per day to draw fuel. For example, the officers at some point would withdraw 550 litres of fuel indicating that the fuel was used to fill a certain vehicle and when in reality no ordinary vehicle has fuel tanks with a capacity of more than 180 litres.
“In total 6 242 litres of fuel were consumed for bulk withdrawals for the month of December 2012. This was attributable to lack of an effective documented system of fuel allocation, coupled with weak supervisory controls.”
Mrs Chiri said there was a risk that without effective control system, fuel could be used for personal benefit at the expense of fulfilling objectives of the organisation. In response, DDF said the nature of their jobs required a lot of fuel.
“Issuance of fuel to management as observed by audit is project and assignment-based because of the nature of operations that call the same manager to be always on the move throughout the country supervising the projects or on administrative assignments,” read the brief response by the DDF management.
“The management response falls short of addressing the issue of fuel policy or regulating the fuel usage. Fund records do not show the project for which the fuel will be drawn to ensure proper accountability,” said Mrs Chiri while commenting on the response given by DDF.
On management of fuel, Mrs Chiri said during the year fuel amounting to $2,4 million was procured yet only $829 333 worth of fuel is accounted for leaving a balance of $1,6 million.
“The fuel shortage worth $1 581 359 should be investigated and conclusive action should be taken to avoid a similar situation. The Fund should consider migrating to a computerised fuel management system,” she said.