The Public Accounts Committee (PAC), chaired by MMM MP Reza Uteem and composed of parliamentarians from both the majority and the opposition, tabled its report in Parliament on Tuesday. The 59-page document reveals serious shortcomings at the level of ministries. Here are some of the cases identified by the PAC.
The PAC made worrying findings in relation to the purchase of 52,400 touch tablets by the Ministry of Education between 2017 and 2020. The total cost of the project was Rs 722 million, including a grant of Rs 456 million from the Indian government.
However, problems were identified, including non-compliance with the Public Procurement Act. The pre-assessment report and recommendations of the Ministry were not submitted to the High Level Committee, as required by law.
The government decided in November 2019 to provide free textbooks to Grade 7, 8 and 9 students from January 2020. However, delays in the delivery of textbooks have been noted.
There was also a lack of monitoring and control over the receipt and distribution of textbooks “it was impossible to verify whether all 679,160 textbooks were delivered. No records were available for the 272,272 textbooks delivered directly to the Private Secondary Education Authority,” writes the PAC.
The PAC is recommending a thorough investigation to determine why “pressure was put on local government officials to renew their deposits with Silver Bank Ltd (Ex-Banyan Tree Bank), in violation of a May 2019 Ministry of Finance circular that required the investment of surplus funds in treasury bills.”
The Port Louis and Curepipe city councils invested Rs 45 million and Rs 91 million respectively in Banyan Tree Bank Ltd, which later became Silver Bank. When Banyan Tree Bank Ltd ran into financial problems, the two local authorities demanded that the money be returned.
The PAC suggests that pressure was exerted by representatives of the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Regional Government on 27 August 2021. The representative of Curepipe City Council took notes that the representatives of the ministries recommended not to withdraw their funds as this could lead to the bank being put into administration.