Minister of Arts and Culture ,Dr. Z. Pallo Jordan refutes R13-Million “Unexplained Expenditure.”

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01 Nov 2007

The Minister of Arts and Culture, Dr. Z. Pallo Jordan has clarified confusion around the Auditor-General’s “qualified report” which claimed R13-million “unexplained expenditure” by the Department.

Minister Jordan has assured parliament that “the qualified audit does not indicate the loss or destruction of any of the assets of the Department of Arts and Culture.”

This was in response to a question by Democratic Alliance’s spokesperson on arts and culture in the National Assembly, Mrs. D. van der Walt.

“The asset register that was provided to the Auditor-General (excel worksheet) for audit purposes, for the 2006/2007 financial year, was a reconciled asset register which excluded assets that were disposed of and/or transferred during the previous year ( 2005/2006 financial year)

“The asset register also excluded assets valued at less than R5 000,00  that are not normally classified as capital in terms of the prescribed economical classifications,” said Minister Jordan.

The Auditor-General, however audited the asset register information as it was reflected on the computer system (Asset pro software solution) which included assets that were disposed of or transferred during the 2005/2006 financial year as well as assets that are less than R5 000,00 in value.

In fact, the difference of R13. 4 million between the asset register and the amount disclosed in the financial statement relates to the value of the disposals, transfers and assets of less than R5 000,00 in value, that were still reflected on the register.

Significantly, the Department moved offices from Oranje-Nassau Building in December 2005. Thus new furniture was purchased for the new offices at the Kingsley Centre in Arcadia.

The transfer of assets was done due to the devolution of the Western Cape archives regional office.

But the Department had outsourced the business of generating reports for the asset register.

It was only in January 2007 that accurate information was downloaded to a spread sheet for it to be reconciled in July.

Unfortunately, the asset register was not linked to the financial system and the Department had only one user license (Asset-pro system). This made it impossible to reconcile the asset register and the general ledger on a monthly basis.

Significantly, the problems that were a result of this were made known to the Auditor-General.

But the former Director of Supply Chain Management who was responsible for procuring the stand-alone system was duly suspended and has subsequently left the Department.

Since then the Department has terminated the use of Asset-pro system.

Asset verification has been embarked on and the National Treasury has been approached for assistance in implementing an integrated system, LOGIS.

The Department will use this system as an asset management system. In fact, this project will be finalized by end of November 2007 which will be in time for the interim audit.

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For any further enquiry please contact Sandile Memela, the Spokesperson at 0828003750 or Premi Appalraju, Media Liaison Officer at 0829036778.