AG spells out ministries financial loopholes reasons

Anna Chifungula
Auditor General Anna Chifungula

AUDITOR General Anna Chifungula has observed that lack of proper hand over by permanent secretaries in Government ministries after reshuffles has created loopholes and financial irregularities in public institutions.
Ms Chifungula said most permanent secretaries that have appeared before the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to answer audit queries raised in the 2012 Auditor General’s report did not have proper records on financial accountability and programmes in their ministries.
She said in an interview at the weekend that most of permanent secretaries appeared not to be aware of particular programmes in the ministries because they were summoned to answer queries soon after being transferred from other ministries.
Ms Chifungula said the ideal situation would be proper hand over to create continuity so that the next controlling officer that comes into the office could have sufficient information.
“A person leaving a particular institution should leave proper handover notes to the new controlling officers to give them guidance on the programmes in that ministry. However, from the responses that we are receiving it’s like this is not being done.
“It appears that the newly appointed controlling officers come in and start learning all over again and in some cases like on the Copperbelt it seems like even the supporting staff was new and they are not able to connect,” she said.
Ms Chifungula also noted that there had been little improvement in financial irregularities in the public service as the civil servants keep finding new ways of misapplying public funds from the perennial unretired imprest and unsupported payments.
“You will notice that there is a decrease in theft, but we could have an increase in missing vouchers. we have actually seen an increase in unsupported payments, but there is a reduction in misappropriation of funds,” she said.