The Ministry of Local Government and Public Works through the Police Service is operating sixteen farms throughout the country with a total hectreage of 11 906.
The ministry says the farms are self-funded with financial statements kept at Police General Headquarters.
But auditor-general Mildred Chiri says “there is no clear evidence indicating that the farms do not belong to the State.”
In evaluating the farms in her latest audit report, Chiri raised alarm in that the Ministry did not produce financial records showing how the farming activities were being accounted for.
“I was therefore not able to validate whether all expenditure incurred and revenue generated had been properly accounted for and disclosed at the end of the year,” Chiri said.
She added that the risk and implication was that “state property and activities may not be accounted for if systems are not in place to ensure transparency and effective reporting.”
She recommended that the “farms and properties under the Ministry should be disclosed in the assets registers of the Ministry and activities and proceeds properly reported in line with the Public Management Act [Chapter 22:19] and other laws and regulations.”
However, the Ministry’s management responded saying the Police farms are self-funded and they were not obliged to provide the auditor-general with the financial records.
“Police farms are not funded through the Appropriation Account but are selffinancing through own activities,” the ministry said.
“The farms are managed as part of Police Service Fund institutions guided by Police Standing Orders Volume 1 part 10 and periodic Zimbabwe Republic Police Circulars generated from time to time. Such policy documents provide systems in place to guide the management of funds generated at these farms. Police Internal Auditors carry out audit inspections at the farms as part of internal control system.”
The ministry added: “Financial records and books including asset registers for the farms are maintained and held in respective police provinces where the farms are located. However, the annual financial statements for the farms are available at the Police General Headquarters.”
In evaluation of management responses, Chiri quipped: “there is no clear evidence indicating that the farms do not belong to the State and also that the running of the farms has no charge to the voted amounts.”