YEAR in, year out we read the Auditor General’s reports. None of the reports make anybody happy because they only bring out irritating facts: misapplication of funds, un-vouched expenditure, undelivered orders and such other sad facts about public revenue.
Unfortunately, these reports cover periods which are not less than two years before their publication. The case in point in this particular matter is the Auditor General’s report on councils countrywide which was published in this paper on Thursday, May 3, 2018. A whopping K14.9 million is reported to have been misapplied!! Very sad indeed.
Surely, the Auditor General’s office should not just continue watching public revenue being abused. There are a number of things that they can do to address the situation:
i. They must urgently decentralise their operations from provincial down to district level. If that fails, then each provincial office must make it mandatory to inspect financial records of each council in their jurisdiction monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly,
ii. We have seen private companies publish names of their employees who conduct themselves dishonestly in one way or another for the attention of the general public. It’s already late for the authorities concerned to start taking stern action against all those found wanting through the Auditor General’s reports.
iii. All employees in public institutions who are registered with professional bodies such as Zambia Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply and many others must be reported to such bodies so that they are deregistered.
The Zambia Revenue Authority is working tirelessly to ensure it collects as much revenue as they can for the good of our country’s economy. The Auditor General should support this effort and ensure no ngwee goes unaccounted for by any officer in public institutions. It is cardinal to bear in mind the adage: “A small leak can sink a boat.” It’s my unfailing hope that the Auditor General will engage all government stakeholders to pick up this serious concern and act accordingly.