Benin: More than 385 billion unjustified expenses in managing the Covid fund

Ministers Romuald Wadani and Benjamin Honkpatten receiving the muzzle and laboratory equipment (April 2020). @ Boys Presidency

The Board of Auditors (CC) has released a report on the audit of expenditures made as part of the management of Covid-19 in Benin. In this report consulted by BENIN WEB TV, the financial authority noted several irregularities in the course of responding to the epidemic.

In Benin, the management of the Covid-19 fund has not been entirely rosy. This was revealed in the 98-page report issued by the Audit Bureau. In terms of general observations, the document mentions irregularities including unjustified expenditures estimated at more than 385 billion CFA francs.

Robinson Siba at the Move Africa concert
Robinson Siba at the Move Africa concert

In fact, the information from the “Point of Implementation of Health and Socio-Economic Response Measures”, the situation regarding the number of payment orders (OP Trésor) paid by the Directorate General of Treasury and General Accounting (DGTCP) and the supporting documents issued in the Court of Audit, revealed a total of three hundred eighty-five One billion six hundred eighty-four million one hundred fifty-six thousand four hundred fifty-four (385684156454) CFA francs are unjustified expenses of the court. The reconciliation between the expenses incurred and the supporting documents produced is as follows:

A reconciliation schedule has been prepared between expenses incurred and supporting documents

Unexplained payments on paid treasury operations

According to the Audit Bureau report, the unjustified payments that were observed are generally related to paid treasury operations. These payments relate more specifically to subsidies given to requested hotels, hotel rental costs and restaurant care costs in the context of quarantine, payment of 70% of payroll over a three-month period, support for universities to organize online courses and various other expenses.

In the face of the irregularities raised, the Minister of Economy and Finance (Mef) provided a response. According to the minister, the unexplained amount of 385,684,156,454 CFA francs is much higher than the treasury policies issued. “Treasury purchase orders issued up to December 31, 2021 by the DGTCP amount to 50,130,822,286 CFA francs, as opposed to the 382,428,390,576 CFA number indicated in the draft report.Romuald Wadagni answered him.

The financial jurisdiction specifies that out of a total of 96 treasury runs issued at the end of December 2021, 41 applications amounting to 10,844,979,630 CFA francs have been settled. “Of the remaining 55 Treasury orders, 37 purchase orders are processed by the Technical Committee dedicated to the settlement process.”. As you indicate it “Remarks made on some documents submitted are still not satisfied with the recipients of said purchase orders”.

Two operations are executed for each payment authorization

The two remittance operations represent a total amount of CFA 211,700,000, including CFA 107,000,000 for government financial support for Benin students in China.

Indeed, on March 4, 2020, the Cabinet announced financial support from the state for Benin students in China. This action was in effect through a process carried out by money order. 420 students from Benin in China benefited from this support, totaling 107,000,000 CFA francs.

The Audit Bureau is not satisfied with the ministry’s response

Out of 385,684,156,454 CFA francs of unexplained expenses, the Audit Bureau indicates that the response of the Ministry does not allow the situation to be settled. “The elements of the response provided do not justify the amount of 385,684,156,454 CFA francs instead of the 382,428,390,576 CFA francs indicated in the Minister’s response”, mentions jurisdiction. add that “Even if this sum has not been paid in full by OP Trésor, all supporting documents relating to it have not been made available to the court.”.

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