STEVEN MVULA, Lusaka
MINISTRY of Information and Broadcasting Services permanent secretary Godfrey Malama yesterday apologised to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) over the ministryâ€™s misapplication of K1.2 million meant for transport management and upgrading of software on unrelated activities.
The funds were used for payment of subsistence and fuel allowances for digital migration sensitisation and procurement of corporate shirts.
And PAC chairperson Getrude Imenda asked the office of the Auditor General to visit the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services to verify receipts and documentation for fuel amounting to K414,956.
Mr Malama made the apology after he was asked to produce evidence that procedure was followed to vary funds and as to why he sought authority in retrospect.
â€œThe attempt to seek authority in retrospection is regrettable. I now, hereby, tender my profuse apology for mishandling the matter at hand. The omission is deeply regretted,â€ Mr Malama said.
The committee accepted the apology.
â€œWe appreciate you varied money for a noble cause. All we wanted is evidence that procedure to vary was followed because by virtue of being controlling officer, you have the power to vary funds,â€ Ms Imenda said.
Mr Malama explained that the ministry had to vary funds to the digital migration programme because it was a very important national event that was dictated by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
And the committee asked the office of the Auditor General to visit the ministry today to verify some fuel receipts.
This was after acting head of procurement Anon Madima submitted a list of vehicles drawing fuel.
â€œHow possible is it that a vehicle can draw fuel five times in a day?â€¦ Something is amiss here. You cannot spend 90 litres of fuel driving around Lusaka in a day. PS [permanent secretary] go back and relook at the details,â€ said Mafinga MP Catherine Namugala.
Ms Namugala said technocrats many times put controlling officers in an awkward position because they do not furnish them with proper details.
Ms Imenda alleged that drivers sometimes collude with fuel attendants.
STEVEN MVULA, Lusaka