Dark Clouds over National Tourist Board

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. This resulted in the net book value being used to calculate the depreciation charge. It was therefore recommended that the fixed assets register opening balances should be updated within the cost of individual assets and the related depreciation and accumulated depreciation.  Reconciliations of the balances of the fixed asset register and the general ledger should be performed on a regular basis. Any differences should be followed up promptly. Management should ensure that in calculating depreciation on its fixed assets, the cost of the assets should be used and not the net book value of the assets.

Officially responding, the NTB General Manager (GM) said: “The observations and recommendations of the audits are legitimate and well noted. In light of the foregoing, management is pleased to report that the fixed assets register for National Tourist Board, has been prepared in accordance with the IPSAS 17. Going forward, we shall endeavor to implement the recommendations of this audit which are in line with IPSAS 17-Property, Plant and Equipment to ensure that the fixed assets register are regularly updated and well kept.”

Furthermore, according to the ASSL report, the amounts in the cashbook on the bank reconciliation statements for the period ended 31st December, 2014 and 2015 did not correspond with the amount on the trial balance for the same date. They were nevertheless approved by the GM. It was recommended that action be taken to reconcile all the bank accounts which may reveal errors or omissions occasioned by fraud or otherwise. Management should also ensure that the preparations of bank reconciliation statements are done on monthly basis.

Officially responding, the GM said: “The management of the Board received the observations on the discrepancies between the cashbook on the bank reconciliation statements for the periods ended 31st December, 2014 and 2015and the amount on the trial balance for the same date. Nevertheless, we want to make it clear that, the Board did prepare bank reconciliation statements (BRS) for the period under review (2014 and 2015 financial years) on a regular basis. What happened was that we were modernizing our accounting systems from manual/excel to specialized accounting software (QuickBooks). As a result of that, we encountered challenges preparing bank reconciliations in the QuickBooks to ensure that the closing bank balances in the BRS-excel version agree with the balances and general ledger in the QuickBooks. However, NTB is pleased to report that, the relevant ledger balances have been reconciled to the balances in the general ledger.”

According to the report, the names of two staff members whose services had ended with the Board still appeared on the payroll even after they had left.  It was recommended that the Board should review its own processes and the capacities of the individuals handling the payroll. If the end of service benefits had not been paid, the Board should consider recovery of those fraudulent payments.

Officially responding the GM said: “The observations and recommendations above are well noted, nevertheless, management wishes to present the following explanations: One staff resigned in October 2014, but due to the overwhelming nature of the Seaweed invasion on the Lumley Beach and the facts that the festive periods in December 2014 were fast approaching, management was constrained to approve his resignation until November 2014; another staff retired in March 2014, but was given an opportunity to stay until May 2014 to ensure a smooth transition from one administration to another.”

The auditors discovered that a vehicle with registration number AKE 477 was expensed and therefore was not part of the fixed assets register of the Board. It was recommended that management should perform a fixed assets verification to ensure that all assets purchased over the past few years were included and senior and competent personnel allowed reviewing the work of the subordinate.

In his response, the GM said: “Management receives the observations and recommendations listed above and has already corrected the error in the accounts. However, management wishes to inform you that we shall continue to train and ensure effective monitoring/supervision of the work of our employees regularly. Meanwhile, management is seeking to buy robust accounting software that is programmed for restriction of access and levels of authorization in processing of economic events.”

According to Section 35 of the National Tourist Board Staff rules and regulations; Management may approve salary advance of one-third of the employee’s monthly salary. Management may approve on certain terms, short term loans not more than the monthly salary of an employee. Any advance above staff monthly salary should be approved by the Board stating terms of repayment

However, some staff that benefitted from loans were not compliant. It was recommended that management should ensure that they adhere to the rules and regulations of the organization.

In his official response, the GM said: “The observations and recommendations are valid and true. However, management wishes to state that, the loan to these employees were granted on compassionate grounds (as some staff were flood victims, some lost their houses to the demolition of illegal structures; others have to pay admission fees in colleges or other emergencies). Management commits itself to do all that is necessary to prevent such practices from reoccurring.”

The Audit Report is already in Parliament awaiting debate.