business

July 18, 2022

NEO SENOKO

2 min read

Standard Bank slated for inconsistent financial data

Standard Bank slated for inconsistent financial data

Acting Auditor General, Monica Besetsa

Story highlights

  • The inconsistent information does not sit well with the Acting AG
  • Reliability of the bank cast in doubt

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STANDARD Lesotho Bank is once again the subject of discussion in line with inconsistent financial information provided by the bank in the latest edition of the Audit Report on the Consolidated Financial Statements of the government for the year ended March 31, 2021.

The report contains a summary of the most significant audit observations that may have a significant impact on finances, resources and service delivery, or if not corrected, may adversely affect financial governance and controls.

These audit observations were communicated and discussed with the Accountant General, respective Chief Accounting Officers from the ministries concerned and Heads of Statutory Bodies.

The inconsistent information does not sit well with the Acting Auditor General, Monica Besetsa, who is calling for the bank to verify before providing bank confirmations in order to maintain credibility.

“I expressed my dissatisfaction on the inconsistent information provided by the banks. Once again I have a concern about information from Standard Lesotho Bank and therefore advice the Accountant General to encourage the banks to ensure that their information is verified before providing bank confirmations in order to maintain credibility of information to their customers,” she said.

The Audit Report shows that Standard Lesotho Bank provided certified bank confirmations as at March 31 2021 and confirmations in soft copy in September 2021. The Auditor General’s examination revealed that the bank had provided different information on confirmation of balances as at March 31, 2021, which raised doubt on the reliability of reported cash position of the government.

Making a follow-up on the differences, the bank was requested to provide authentic confirmation of the balances. The bank provided another hard copy confirmation in March 2022 and the comparison of the two hard copy confirmations revealed a difference of four accounts totaling M11 million.

In addition, some of the accounts reported as active in September 2021 were reported as dormant in March 2022 and others previously reported as dormant were reported as active in March 2022.

Some accounts that had balances in March 2022 submission were different from those reported in September 2021.

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“The difference casts doubts on the reliability of information provided by the bank,” Ms Besetsa added.

Furthermore, the report revealed other inconsistencies in that comparison of previous year’s bank confirmation from Standard Lesotho Bank and current year’s bank confirmation were not the same.

A total of 32 accounts that appeared on the bank confirmation as at March 31, 2020 were no longer there as at March 31, 2021. Upon inquiry, the bank reported that the 32 had been closed. It was noted that 13 of those accounts appeared to have been closed prior to March 31, 2020, with some closed as far back as 2017 yet they were reported by the bank as active as at March 2020.

This further raised uncertainty on credibility of information provided by the bank.

 

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