Government has suspended six accountants from the Ministries of General Education and Finance to pave way for investigations following revelations of theft in the Auditor General’s report.
The Auditor General’s report for the year ended 2016 revealed that a Ministry of General Education employee paid himself a total of K2,577,055 in the year ended 2016, for unexplained purposes.
According to the Auditor General, a Bwalya L Phiri used different initials on nine occasions to draw money from a Ministry of General Eduction account, in an attempt to conceal the fraud.
Meanwhile, two of his colleagues also paid themselves K871,272 in similar circumstances.
Winding up debate on the budgetary allocation to his ministry for the 2018 financial year, Minister of Finance Felix Mutati told Parliament that four of the suspended accountants work for the Ministry of General Education while the other two were from his ministry.
“With regard to the current Auditor General’s report, Chairperson you may wish to know that we have taken decisive action in the Ministry of Transport and Communication, we have recalled the performance for $6.9 million for non delivery of the dredgers including taking additional measures by the law enforcement agencies. In addition Chairperson you may wish to know that in the Ministry of General Education, we have put in forensic audit suspending four accountants at general education and also suspending two accountants at the Ministry of Finance because the intention is that you cannot take away the people’s money. Chairperson, those that took money, we have also instituted recoveries for all the monies that were taken. What we are saying Chairperson is that we are not going to tolerate the sanctuary of financial mischief and financial misuse,” Mutati said.
He said prudent management of resources was important.
“As government, the prudent management of resources is important. Ensuring that we secure budget credibility and also ensuring that we improve the use of the limited resources to create impact not only on growth but also to be able to push the involvement of the private sector. We think these are critically important and in so doing, in the area of prudent financial management, next year we will put in the questions that were raised by honourable members of parliament [during their debates on the budget] in order to anchor prudence in law and also prudence in regulations.”
Mutati said government would continue tightening the law to ensure that it caught up with culprits.
“But prior to putting in the new Act, we must act now and we are putting in decisive action to arrest the misdemeanor that has been reported by the Auditor General in the current auditor General’s report that is being debated, so government is decisive on this particular matter Chairperson. In conclusion Chairperson, I just want to say that the moderate achievement that we have made thus far is because of the collective wisdom of all of us and I would like to highlight Chairperson that we all have different views about this but that is the core and essence for a democratic society but what is fundamental is that we must have a common agenda. A collect agenda which focuses on developing the country,” said Mutati.