The Mauritius Audit report for fiscal year 2011 was released 2 days ago, on Tuesday, July 10 2012. It’s no surprise that the 279-page long document which reviewed the expenses incurred by various ministries identified significant waste of public funds. We are not talking about hundreds of rupees but of millions of rupees. When we recall the fact that this money comes out from the pocket of the tax payers, of you and me, certainly this issue requires a very close analysis. 

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Our leader, Navin Ramgoolam has shown some apprehension concerning the procedures used by the Office of Audit to get these numbers. While he was visiting the new airport terminal on Wednesday 11 July, journalists have sought a declaration from the head of government concerning the report of the Audit.

He said that “If we were to follow all procedures of the Audit, we would not be in this new terminal but we in the old one.” When Navin Ramgoolam was questioned about the wastage of money that takes place in the public service he replied that people should make him a president with full authority if it wants to eliminate wastage of funds. This could be an attempt to cover up the mismanagement of the various authorities concerns.

Here are some interesting highlights from the reports!

Mauritian Money Down The Drain

Huge amount of money is going down the drain. This is not only a metaphor! The report criticizes the mismanagement of the work on all projects to the sewer. The initial cost for the construction of a network of all-in-sewage projects in the region of the Plaine-Wilhems called WW 99F AND WW 81H was estimated at Rs 846 million and Rs 2.3 billion respectively. However, additional costs of over Rs 122 million were incurred by the department regarding the project named WW 99F and the contractor has an additional demand of Rs 580.5 million the project WW 81F.

The report of the Audit Office attributed the main reason for this increase in cost of excavation work additional and unforeseen. Can we take for granted that a contractor could not anticipate additional works which would cost so many extra millions of rupees? What were these additional and unforeseen works really about…?

Irregularities in Public Health Sector

Once again, irregularities were noted in the purchase of medicines for public health centres. In 2011, the Audit report criticizes the acquisition of Rs 40 million expired drugs as one of the problems. Raj Jugarnuth also denounced abnormality regarding the contracts and monitoring of hospital cleaning n the National Assembly.

He furthermore pointed to the fact that Rs 5 million of rupees were spent for the purchase of fixtures which are not being used now. We, tax payers, spend our time and energy working sometimes in harsh conditions in the rain or under the burning sun. But when we realise how this money is extravagantly wasted we cannot but feel restless and let our irritation show.

Rs 183 Million Paid Not To Work?

Rs 183 million! That was the huge amount of money paid to officials who were suspended from duty in 2011. Those public officers continued to receive their salaries for several years thought they were banned from office for various reasons. This practice continues to swallow up tens of millions of rupees every year.

Mauritian Police Using State Vehicles For Personal Use!

Moreover, the Audit noted that the Pay Research Bureau (PRB) has clearly shown that public servants enjoying facilities of “duty free” and transportation allowances must use their own vehicles except in exceptional cases. But an investigation led by the Internal Audit Section in 2011 revealed that senior members of the police were using state vehicles for personal purposes or for official travel. This is contrary to the regulations of the 2008 PRB! But it is infuriating to witness that some people seem to be placed above those laws.

These were just some examples of how much money is wasted every year in the various ministries. Millions of rupees are wasted in an unconstructive way. Are the people appointed to work on these projects qualified enough? It is so ironical to learn about all these wastage and still hear that the government is struggling to keep its head above the water. Who are they trying to fool once again?…

~Sephora J.

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