Districts to recover irregular payments

Health permanent secretary Davy Chikamata (on the right) during the handover ceremony of the cold chain equipment. To the left is Zambia National Blood Transfusion Services medical director Joseph Mulenga. PICTURE: MWAPE MWENYA

MINISTRY of Community Development permanent secretary Dave Chikamata yesterday told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that districts that irregularly paid rural and remote hardship allowances amounting to K1,173,347 to 583 ineligible officers have been instructed to effect recoveries.
The Auditor General’s report has exposed irregularities in which K1,173,347 was given to 583 ineligible officers as rural and remote hardship allowance.
Speaking when  he appeared before PAC to respond to queries cited in the Auditor General’s report, Dr Chikamata said district community medical offices (DCMOs) have been instructed to effect recoveries this month.
“I wish to report that districts that irregularly paid rural and remote hardship allowances to 583 ineligible officers have been asked to effect recoveries,” he said.
Dr Chikamata said the DCMOs have been instructed to constantly monitor the payroll and undertake head counts regularly.
He also said that DCMOs have been directed to effect recoveries for the K1,544,927 which was irregularly paid to employees who were accommodated in government quarters.
Dr Chikamata said the ministry has also removed on payroll four officers who were separated from the public service through retirement or resignation and had remained on the payroll for five years, resulting in irregular payment of salaries amounting to K51,089.
He, however, said the money will be recovered from their terminal benefits.
Dr Chikamata also said that drugs and medical supplies worth K18,864,371 were not accounted for when the audit was done due to poor record keeping.
He said the drugs and medical supplies have since been accounted for and documentation is available for verification.
And Chembe member of Parliament (MP) Mwansa Mbulakulima urged the ministry to actively perform its duties to ensure that such irregularities do not ocur in the future.
Mr Mbulakulima said he looks forward to a day when ministries will not have to be summoned by PAC because of irregularities.

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