FINANCE minister Felix Mutati has vowed to accelerate the passing of the Public Finance Act during the current Parliament sitting to allow prosecution and sentencing to prison of all the culprits cited in the 2016 Auditor General’s report.
Meanwhile, Mr Mutati has called on the media to help expose all culprits cited in the Auditor General’s report by comprehensively covering the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) which starts sitting tomorrow.
Mr Mutati said government received the Auditor General’s report with a sense of sadness in terms of the level at which misbehaviour was growing in parastatals and government institutions.
He said this yesterday after officiating at the United Church of Zambia (UCZ) fundraising church service at Kabulonga Boys Secondary School where he pledged 100 pockets of cement towards the construction of a new church in Ibex Hill.
Mr Mutati observed that the quantum at which stealing, misappropriation and misapplication was growing was very alarming.
Mr Mutati said it was beyond carelessness, adding that it was now sheer greediness.
“We are struggling to raise revenue, to create jobs, to create development and then a handful of selfish Zambians are taking that away from the people.
“…And the quantum at which this is growing is alarming and is beyond careless it is now sheer greed so we are going to be very decisive on this particular issue and we are going to accelerate the passing of this particular Act,” he said.
He said government needed to urgently address the core issue.
“One of the challenges that we have at the moment is that the Public Finance Act hasn’t got punitive measures that can be employed to reverse the trend
“This is the reason why during this sitting of Parliament we are carrying out amendments to the Public Finance Act so that people can be punished for the wrong doing for taking away the people’s money,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Mutati has asked the media to attend the Public Accounts Committee meetings which were starting on Tuesday (tomorrow), adding that part of reversing bad behaviour was exposure through the media.
“…So that you listen to people as they are being interrogated by the Public Accounts Committee I think that message alone will act as a deterrence for those that are contemplating.
“Do not be sensational because all the culprits will be brought and they will have to answer to PAC and for me I think that is deterrence apart from strengthening the legal requirement which will include prosecution, prison sentences and that is what is in the act,” Mr Mutati said.
He said those found wanting would definitely be jailed for stealing, misappropriation and misapplication.