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Punish erring officers, Malupenga told

CATHERINE MUMBA, Lusaka
THE Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has asked Ministry of Local Government and Housing permanent secretary Amos Malupenga to take action against some council officers over unsupported payments made to suppliers and statutory bodies amounting to K4,346,954.
The 2014 Auditor General’s report revealed that 246 payments amounting to K4,346,954 made at nine local authorities were not supported with relevant documents such as quotations, cash sale receipts and local purchase orders (LPOs), among others.
Mr Malupenga, in his response to the PAC yesterday, said local authorities will in future ensure that all receipts from suppliers and statutory bodies are collected as soon as payments are made.
“The ministry wishes to report that the councils regret the omission of not attaching all the supporting documents for the payments made,” he said.
But Mafinga member of Parliament Catherine Namugala argued that the unsupported payments should be investigated because some officers could have stolen the money and “manufactured” fake receipts after being visited by officers from the Auditor General.
Mr Malupenga agreed with Ms Namugala that this could be a case of theft of public resources and said the ministry would consult a number of documents to see how the officers involved can be disciplined.
PF Chama North MP Jamson Zimba said he was disappointed that no action has been taken against the officers in question.
Mr Zimba challenged Mr Malupenga to discipline council secretaries and town clerks to ensure that public resources are not misused.
And Mr Malupenga assured the PAC that his ministry will not rest until sanity is restored in the local authorities.
He said minister of Local Government and Housing Steven Kampyongo is also concerned with the misappropriation of funds in local authorities and poor documentation which has made the ministry look inefficient.

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