Justice Ministry debt sours
Lusaka, March 19, 2013 – ZANIS – The Ministry of Justice accumulated a debt of K552 billion or KR552 million as at December 31,2010.
Ministry of Justice Permanent Secretary for Administration Joseph Akafumba says government through the Ministry of Finance has been allocating funds to the Ministry of Justice for compensation and awards and that as at February 18 2013 the outstanding bills stood at K265 billion or KR265 million.
Mr. Akafumba disclosed this when he made submissions to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on the report of the Auditor General (AG) on the accounts for the financial year ended December 2011 for the Ministry of Justice today.
ZANIS reports that Mr Akafumbo told the PAC that he was hopeful that at rate the government was allocating funds for compensation and awards the debt will reduced significantly by the end of the year.
Mr. Akafumba noted that the government is the most sued institution in the country and that therefore as the debts are reduced other debts come in further pointing out that the desire of his Ministry is to reduce the debts to manageable levels.
Meanwhile, Mr Akafumbo bemoaned the serious shortage of state advocates in the Ministry of Justice to manage cases against the state.
Mr. Akafumba said that currently there are only twelve lawyers to defend all state cases across the country.
He further said that there are nine lawyers in Lusaka to manage Lusaka, Central, Eastern, Muchinga, Northern, Luapula, Copperbelt, Western and North Western Provinces.
Mr. Akafumba added that Southern Province has one lawyer based in Livingstone pointing out that one lawyer is on study leave while the other is on maternity leave.
He stressed that this therefore leaves only ten lawyers out of the twelve for the whole country stating that they are handling not less than 200 cases each.
And PAC Chairperson Vincent Mwale said the Ministry of Justice was brought to appear before the Committee because it was cited for serious financial irregularities.
Mr. Mwale who is also MMD MP for Chipangali noted that the role of the PAC is to ensure that public institutions do not misappropriate funds allocated to them.
The PAC Chairperson pointed out that institutions that appear before the committee are not at any time allowed to mislead or give false information concerning how they spent the funds given to them by government.
Mr. Mwale warned that the Committee would not hesitate to take stern action on those institutions that would be found wanting by producing and giving false data.
And Auditor General Anna Chifungula maintained that her office will
not relent in auditing government institutions in the management of public.