Kuzeeko Tjitemisa Windhoek-The Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) yesterday washed its hands over an unaccounted N$1.8 billion the Ministry of Education disbursed to NSFAF between 2007 and 2013, saying NSFAF only came into existence in 2013. NSFAF CEO Hilya Nghiwete said at the time of the transfer, apart from physical files, no breakdown was submitted. “Normal procedure would have been to compile the balances per student using each file but this would have taken a very long time considering the 73,353 files involved,” she said. “At the time, this amount was also not known, as the N$1,792,303,100 was later deducted using the CEO section in the annual report contained in 2014/15,” she explained. She said due to the absence of the list, which could be audited, no loans balance could be included in the financial statement for the year ended March 31, 2014, but rather issued a qualified audit opinion, which highlighted that the financial statement has been qualified due to non-availability of a list, which could be audited. Nghiwete was responding to questions the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts posed to NASFAF here during a public hearing. The hearing lasted almost four hours. The standing committee wanted to know how the N$1.8 billion in students disbursements from the government was accounted for as at April 1, 2013. The committee chaired by ‘No Nonsense’ Mike Kavekotora also grilled Nghiwete and her team, which included the newly appointed board chairperson Jerome Mutumba, vice-chairperson Dr Christina Swart-Opperman and the NSFAF chief financial officer on why recoveries made on loans were treated as revenue, a service never recognised in the books of accounts. The committee also wanted to know why these recoveries were not spilt between principal and interest; why capital was treated as revenue and how come NSFAF recognised it as revenue. Nghiwete responded by saying that since initial balances were included in the financial statements as from April 1, 2013, subsequent recoveries do not have a capital balance from which they can be netted off. But, she said, they needed to be accounted for; hence, they have been recorded as revenue for subsequent financial years. She said the issues relating to the genetic approach taken by NSFAF in recording its financial information and issues including, among others, no indication whether the amount received/paid out was a grant or a loan and some beneficiaries were minor at the time of signing the contracts.
New Era Reporter
2018-03-09 09:53:26 8 months ago