Union leader admits crucial finance oversight

Namibian Food and Allied Workers Union (Nafau) general secretary Jacob Penda has acknowledged a significant oversight in the union’s financial management during the 2017 financial year.

He said this yesterday regarding the audit findings for the year ending December 2017.

This comes three weeks after The Namibian published a report on Nafau’s leadership failing to account for over N$20 million in union funds, including N$7 million in workers’ contributions.

The auditors also raised concerns over the absence of a fixed asset register, which prevented them from verifying the completeness, valuation, accuracy, and existence of fixed assets.

Penda admitted that the union failed to maintain an asset register at the time – a crucial component of accurate accounting and transparency.

However, he emphasised that subsequent actions have been taken to rectify this issue.

“All invoices and agreements pertaining to assets purchased were made available for review during audits.

“The issue of the fixed asset register was rectified in the subsequent year, and Nafau took steps to establish and maintain an asset register to accurately track and record its assets,” he said.

Penda acknowledged that while actual supporting documents were available for audit, the absence of a comprehensive audit reporting process hindered the auditors from accessing them.

He said measures have been implemented since then to rectify the shortcomings of the union’s internal controls.

Additionally, Nafau has hired a dedicated accountant to ensure adherence to proper accounting procedures.

Penda also clarified that Nafau had been maintaining membership fees in a manual format prior to the 2017 audit.

Following the consultant’s advice, the union transitioned to using an electronic database for membership fee records in 2018.

“The union admits that challenges maintaining membership fee information in the format required for auditing purposes were experienced.

“A membership verification department has since been set up to oversee the recording of membership from all members electronically,” he said.

Penda said the audit report was not indicative of irregularities, but rather a result of unresolved balances carried forward from prior years, compounded by the absence of a functional accounting department during the 2017 audit.

Another issue raised by the auditors was the lack of petty cash reconciliations during the review period, totaling N$83 000, which further raised red flags.

Penda admitted that the petty cash was not processed on Pastel, the accounting software used.

Despite the hurdles faced, he expressed confidence in the progress made by Nafau in correcting the issues raised during audits.

He said the current year’s audit reflects a significant improvement in the union’s financial management practices.

Penda declined to provide the latest audit report, stating it would only be available once it is tabled.

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