INFORMATION Permanent Secretary Godfrey Malama yesterday unreservedly apologized to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) for misleading on misappropriation of funds in his ministry cited in the Auditor General’s report.
Mr Malama breached Appropriation Act of 2013 when he told members of Parliament that sought authority to vary funds amounting to K1, 200, 017 meant for transport management, upgrading of software and Anti-Virus without providing supporting documents demanded by the committee.
The committee heard that Mr Malama, instead, applied the K1, 200, 017 on unrelated activities such as payment of subsistence and fuel allowances for Digital Migration sensitization and procurement of corporate shirts for Zambia International Trade Fair in Ndola among others.
But when asked to provide evidence, Mr Malama produced a letter which he wrote to the Secretary to the Treasury requesting for retrospective authority to vary funds of K2, 939, 022. 53.
Members of Parliament were incensed after they discovered that Mr Malama’s letter to the secretary to the Cabinet was written after an audit had been conducted by the Office of the Auditor General.
Mr Malama’s letter to the treasury had conflicting figures with what was captured by the auditors.
Committee chairperson Gertrude Imenda who seemingly went ‘confrontational’ demanded that Mr Malama should produce supporting documents to his submission for the committee to believe him or apologize if he did not have documents than misleading the committee.
And the committee also heard that contrary to financial regulations Nos. 45 and 52, two payments totalling K114, 000. 00 made during the period under review were not supported with relevant such as cash sales receipts among others.
But Mr Malama said the payments of K114, 000 earlier reported by Auditor General were reviewed and that support documents were now available for audit verification.
Contrary to Public Stores Regulations No. 16 various stores items costing K 481, 910. 00 (General Stores K66, 954. 00 and fuel K414, 956) procured during the year under review were unaccounted for in that there were no receipts and disposal details.
Again Mr Malama said the unaccounted stores of K66, 954 and K414, 956. 00 had been fully accounted for with receipts and disposal details which were available for verification.
But the committee could not believe Mr Malama’s delegation and asked them to go back and wait for another audit as they could not produce any supporting evidence.
Ms Imenda suggested that the Office of the Auditor General should audit the ministry starting today before they could start manufacturing fake receipts.