Tuesday, June 16, 2015


There is no oversight on how Swaziland King Mswati III, his fifteen wives and vast royal family spend public money, a United States report has concluded.
The US makes annual reviews of the ‘fiscal transparency’ of governments that receive its financial assistance to ensure that American taxpayers’ money is used appropriately.

In its review of Swaziland, published on Friday (12 June 2015), the US Department of State concluded the kingdom, ruled by King Mswati, who is an absolute monarch, did not meet acceptable standards.

The report stated, ‘Expenditures to support the royal family, military, police, and correctional services are included in the budget, but are not subject to the same oversight as the rest of the budget.’

It added, ‘Revenues and expenditures related to natural resources are not included in the budget.’

The report concluded, ‘Fiscal transparency in Swaziland would be improved by including all expenditures and revenues in the budget; subjecting the entire budget to audit and oversight; consistently applying legal procedures in the awarding of natural resource extraction contracts and licenses; and making basic information on natural resource awards publicly available.’

The truth about of the King’s spending has been consistently hidden from the Swazi people, his budget is never debated in parliament, and audits of the budget are only presented to the King himself and the Royal Board of Trustees chaired by the minister of finance.

Media in Swaziland have access to the full budget estimates which contain information about the King’s budget but do not publish it. State media in the kingdom are heavily censored and the private media censors itself when reporting about the King.

Seven in ten of Swaziland’s tiny 1.3 million population live in abject poverty with incomes less than US$2 a day; three in ten are so hungry they are medically diagnosed as malnourished and the kingdom has the highest rate of HIV infection in the world.

Despite the poverty of the kingdom, King Mswati continues to live a lavish lifestyle. He has 13 palaces, fleets of top-of-the-range Mercedes and BMW cars, at least one Rolls Royce and a private jet.

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