Public Accounts Committee grills Foreign Affairs PS

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PRESIDENT Sata with Paramount Chief Mpezeni (right), Information permanent secretary George Zulu (middle) and Southern Province Minister Daniel Munkombwe (partly obscured) at Feni yesterday.
PRESIDENT Sata with Paramount Chief Mpezeni (right), Information permanent secretary George Zulu (middle) and Southern Province Minister Daniel Munkombwe (partly obscured) at Feni yesterday.

THE Public Accounts Committee (PAC) yesterday took the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to task over the continued violation of financial regulations by missions abroad in which Zambia was losing thousands of Kwacha.
This was when Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary George Zulu appeared before the committee chaired by MMD Chipangali Member of Parliament (MP) Vincent Mwale in Lusaka yesterday.
Mr Zulu failed, among others, to explain more than US$318,000 in unaccounted for funds by the Zambian mission in Moscow as reported in the 2012 Auditor General’s report.
Mr Mwale said PAC was not happy with the books of accounts for most of the missions abroad, especially Moscow.
He said it was sad that despite members of staff at the embassies being few, reports of unaccounted for funds and unretired imprest remained high.
Auditor General Anna Chifungula said it was also sad that in Moscow, $35,000 as imprest given to officers was not accounted for as the accountants withdrew the cash but there was no documentation to show what the money was used for.
The committee expressed worry that Moscow had recorded all forms of financial irregularities ranging from unaccounted for funds, unretired imprest, under-reporting of revenue, missing receipt books, irregular use of revenue, irregular payments of foreign service allowances, overpayment of education and medical allowances, and unaccounted for stores, among others.
Mr Zulu explained that the ministry of Foreign Affairs was also not happy about the books of accounts in Moscow, but attributed the situation to the ‘ailing’ accountant.

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