THE latest Auditor General’s report has revealed that over K23,000 meant for general administration in Namwala and Mazabuka district commissioners’ offices were spent on paying allowances for President Edgar Lungu’s visits. According to the Auditor General’s Report on Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for the financial year ended December 31,2017, the provincial administration in Choma spent K626,106 meant for child economic empowerment, cadastral equipment, capacity building on unrelated issues.
“The District Commissioners’ Offices contrary to the appropriation Act of 2016 and Financial Regulation No. 31(1), amounts totalling K23,040 meant for general administration in two districts (Namwala and Mazabuka) were spent on unrelated activities such as payment of settling in allowances, capacity building and allowances for presidential visits, among others, without authority of the Secretary to the Treasury,” the report revealed.
The report adds that K28,760 meant for factory inspections under the Factory Department were applied on activities not related to the purposes for which the funds were appropriated such as attending Cabinet meetings and Parliament sessions.
“Although in response management stated that the funds were reimbursed on 8th May 2018, using funds meant for the 2018 activities, there was no Treasury authority from the Secretary to the Treasury allowing the provincial administration to vary funds for 2018 to reimburse the funds which were misapplied in 2017,” the report indicated.
Further, the provincial administration in Choma failed to account for K173,792 accrued on 20 payments as required by Financial Regulation No. 45. Also there were no receipt and disposal details in respect of stores items costing K136,931 procured during the period under review at the provincial administration office (K60,476), Choma (K15,630) and Mazabuka (K60,826) district commissioner’s offices.
The report’s executive summary stated that in 2017, the trend of irregularities raised had remained similar to the previous two years. Meanwhile, over K86,000 meant for rehabilitation of the swimming pool at Hillcrest Technical High School in Livingstone last year was returned to the Treasury because the provincial administration failed to engage a contractor.
According to the report, Southern Province administration also failed to construct a Youth Training Centre in Mbabala.
“In June 2017, amounts totalling K86,984 were funded for the rehabilitation of the swimming pool at Hillcrest Technical High School. However, as of December 2017, no works had been done on the swimming pool and consequently the funds were mopped back to the Treasury at the end of the year as the provincial administration did not seek authority to retain the funds in accordance with Financial Regulation No. 36,” the AG’s report revealed.
The report revealed that the Southern Province administration also failed to construct a training centre in Mbabala under the Department of Sport, Youth and Child Development despite purchasing building materials on December 29, 2017.
“The provincial administration procured building materials costing K53,684 from Choma Garage Ltd (K7,884), Harshaad Bazaar (K43,680) and 260 African Building Suppliers (K2,120). However, as at 31st August 2018, seven months after the materials were paid for, works on the centre had not commenced. Further, materials costing K45,800 procured from Harshaad Bazaar and African Building Suppliers had not been collected,” the AG’s report revealed.
The AG’s office recommended that controlling officers should ensure resources under their charge were utilised in accordance with the appropriation Act, the public finance management Act and other regulations.