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By:Andrew Kathindi

Namibia’s auditor general, Junias Kandjeke, has not provided an audit report for the community courts under the ministry of justice for the last ten years.

According to Kandjeke, the accounting officer has not provided any financial statements or monthly bank reconciliation statements in that period.

In the auditor general’s report, the accounting officer explained that he has not been able to prepare and submit the statements for audit purposes because the ministry of justice did not open bank accounts for this purpose.

Community courts must be audited annually as per the provisions of the Community Court Act of 2003.

“It would be impractical to provide statements which are not in the name of the ministry of Justice,” he noted.

Kandjeke says that the accounting officer indicated that the ministry is at the brim of requesting treasury authorization and suggested that once it is approved, the ministry would be able to draw up financial statements for auditing purposes, preferably from the 2022/2023 financial year.

The auditor general’s report also found inconsistencies in the way bonus allowances are paid regarding community courts.

In one instance, it was discovered that during the audit that the clerk and messenger of two out of seven community courts audited did not receive bonus allowances as well as travel allowances.

“It is recommended that the ministry should be consistent on allowance payments for all the community courts, and make backdated payments for the two colleagues mentioned and provide payment evidence for audit purposes and implement consistency in future,” says Kandjeke.

Questions sent to the minister of justice, Yvonne Dausab, on why bank accounts for community courts were not opened to allow for the submission of financial statements were not responded to at the time of publication.

Community courts came into operation in 2009, six years after the Act was put into effect.

In 2009 N$2 million had been budgeted for the community courts, which traditional leaders oversee.

An additional N$5,5 million was required to fully implement the Community Courts Act and create the division of community courts in the justice ministry in the 2009/2010 financial year.

In the 2021/2022 financial year, the justice ministry was allocated N$491.4 million, while the judiciary received N$371.2 million.

Julia Heita

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