The 2020-21 Auditor General’s Report released last week has cast doubt on the business model of Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST). The concern follows detection of several accounting and procurement malpractices at the country’s second largest university. BIUST incurred a net loss of P14.58million during the year ended 31 March 2021 and at the same time its current liabilities exceeded its current assets by approximately P135 million. “The note stated that these events or conditions, along with other matters as set forth in Note 30 of the financial statements, may cast significant doubt on the University’s ability to continue as a going concern,” said outgoing Auditor General, Pulane Letebele. The auditors observed that the financial statements of the University have pointed out the effects of restatement of prior year balances due to changes in accounting policies with respect to certain funds. However, they said the University had, for the purposes of better and clearer disclosure, split the capital funds balance into Development funds, Designated funds and Capital funds. The 14.58 million deficit in the year under review compared to P26.59 million in the previous year was attributed to the rise in staff costs by 15 percent from P362.29million in the previous year to P415 million in the 2020-21 financial year. “Income increased by 11% from a restated P561.67 million in the previous year to P622.72 in the year under review. Expenditure increased by 8% from P588.30million in the previous year to P637.35million in the year under review”. SOME PROCUREMENT EXERCISES THAT RAISED EYEBROWS The auditors observed that the procurement policy was not followed for some of the expenses paid during the year under review. \tPayment to Press Down Holdings Pty Ltd for supply and installation of solar batteries to the boys’hostels did not adhere to the procurement and payment policies. There was no purchase requisition to initiate the procurement process, and no quotation and purchase from the supplier. “As per the procurement policy, any expense/purchase in the range of P100,000.00 to P500,000.00, five quotations should have been obtained but that did not happen,” said the report. \tThe auditors noted an amount of P327,510.00 was paid out by the University based on an invoice and a memorandum, but there was no Goods Received Notes and purchase orders. “The auditors did not find any GRNs or purchase orders for this payment”. \tAnother payment of P341,943.00 was paid to Oak Services (Pty) Ltd for provision of waste management, but it did not adhere to procurement policy of the P100k-P500k threshold which requires five quotations. “The auditors noted that only two quotations were obtained from suppliers”. \tPayments of P16,960.00 and P33,999.00 were made to Shatos’s Investment Company and Ngwato Security respectively but no quotations were availed. “As per the procurement policy, purchases below P40,000.00 require atleast one quotation”.Other observations were that some senior officers verbally delegated procurement assignments to their juniors with no record whatsoever of such communication and no justification for such. One officer was reprimanded for doing that. The auditor general observed shocking variations in some contracts between the university and service providers. One such is a project that was initially budgeted for approximately P100 million but ended with and additional P98 million cost overrun.