Public Accounts Committee queries validity of Gender Ministry reports

MMD Chipangali Member of Parliament (MP) Vincent Mwale
Minister of Sports,Vincent Mwale

THE Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) yesterday questioned the authenticity of reports presented by the Ministry of Gender and Child Development Permanent Secretary Daisy Ng’ambi and her Eastern Province counterpart Chileshe Mulenga.
The Committee, chaired by MMD Chipangali Member of Parliament (MP) Vincent Mwale, asked the duo that appeared separately to make fresh resubmissions.
This relates to audit queries that were raised in the 2012 Auditor General’s Report.
The Ministry of Gender and Development was cited for the misapplication of funds amounting to K1,379,185 meant for child protection and another K292,273 meant for women empowerment.
Others were irregular payments of K70,500 as staff welfare allowances to officers, who were not entitled and seven inadequately supported payments amounting to K73, 460.
Among the supporting documents that the ministry submitted to justify expenditure were fuel receipts which the committee questioned for not indicating registration numbers of the vehicles that drew fuel.
Other receipts were not indicating the filling stations where the fuel was drawn.
MMD Lunte MP Felix Mutati and MMD Mafinga MP Catherine Namugala questioned the authenticity of the receipts, which prompted the Auditor General Anna Chifungula to disclose that the receipts were never availed during the audit and when the auditors went for verification on February 19 2014.
This prompted Mr Mwale to ask Ms Ng’ambi to withdraw the section of that particular submission and present a fresh one next week Monday.
Ms Namugala regretted that the ministry diverted K292,273 meant for women empowerment to buy air tickets and pay allowances for officers, while K1.3 million meant for child protection was used on unrelated activities such as motor vehicle repairs and intercompany relay, among others.
PF Chama North MP January Zimba questioned why the Permanent Secretary misled the committee, which was a serious offence under CAP 12 of the laws of Zambia.
Ms Ng’ambi apologised to the committee, saying the ministry had such irregularities because it had shortage and unqualified staff in most departments.
For Eastern Province, the Committee rejected the contract presented by Dr Mulenga of a contractor, wyho wanted to be paid a refund for drilling five boreholes that were dry.
Dr Mulenga told the Committee that, according to the contract, the company that was engaged to drill the boreholes was supposed to be refunded in the event that no water was found in these sites.
The Auditor General’s report revealed that China Gansu Engineering Corporation was engaged to drill five boreholes with the depth of 50 meters and supply and install submerged pumps at the total sum of K228,675.
The contractor was given an upfront payment of K113,900 and drilled six boreholes, which were dry, and demanded a refund of K3,000 for each dry borehole drilled for using his material.
However, upon counter checking the contract that was drafted in 2011, figures were quoted in rebased currency, prompting Committee members to question the authenticity of the contract.
During the time the contract was drafted the country had not rebased the currency.


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