Party of National Unity (PNU) Secretary General Kasote Singogo says the Ministry of General Education employee who stole K2.5 million did not want to be a victim of delayed pensions when he retires.
The latest Auditor General’s report singled out Bwalya L Phiri, for paying himself a total of K2,577,055 in the year ended 2016, for unexplained purposes.
According to the Auditor General, Phiri used different initials on nine occasions to draw money from a Ministry of General Education account, in an attempt to conceal the fraud whilst two of his colleagues also paid themselves K871,272 in similar circumstances.
“Inquiries revealed that the funds drawn had been misappropriated by the said officers as they were not accounted for at the Ministry. In particular, a payment made on Cheque Number 427659 which was purportedly paid to the DEBs offices was actually paid to L Bwalya confirmed through the Bank statements. It was noted that in an effort to conceal the fraud, different names and initials (L Bwalya P, L B Phiri, Bwalya Phiri, B Phiri, L Phiri and L Bwalya) of the same payee were used for different transactions,” read the Auditor General’s report.
But in an interview, Singogo said Phiri was simply emulating his leaders.
“You can see that this government is just there to destroy, to destroy the very means of development because when tax money is collected, this money belongs to the people of Zambia and is suppose to be used prudentially. But clearly this is the evidence of a government which does not care because by now, we should be reading about the arrest but you see its just business as usual. This person who has been identified at the Ministry of education, we can safely say that he is probably seeing what the leaders are doing and he himself now takes advantage,” Singogo said.
“Secondly, he could be seeing that because this government is in huge arrears on those people who have retired, he is basically saying to himself, if this is what it means that when I retire I will also be like those people who have retired, I might as well help myself. It shows you my dear sister that in this country, all the systems have broken down. And you yourselves know that this is what we do also, so it becomes difficult now to take action against this civil servant whom you have been informed that is taking money using different names. That is why we are saying that this government is incompetent where you have glaring evidence and you don’t act.”
“There are three things we have said about PF. Firstly we have said that the PF government is incompetent, secondly, the PF government is corrupt, and thirdly, the PF government is violent. Now, the Auditor General’s report confirms that this government is incompetent and corrupt because it does not need anybody to tell you that look this is a police case. This is a sign of incompetence that is why you find that they cannot act because they are incompetent. Secondly this confirms the corruption we have been talking about. On violence I don’t need to educate you because you saw what happened in Luampa when the Vice-President went there to commission a sub-station. An honorable member of parliament was almost beaten up by PF thugs in full view of the Vice president,” Singogo said.
He charged that senior government officials were slow to act on erring civil servants cited in the Auditor General’s report because even they were guilty.
“The reason why you don’t act it is because perhaps you yourselves do the same thing and it becomes difficult to act. And for us we want to be on record that PF government, this is the PF government because you can’t say Edgar Chagwa, Edgar Chagwa is the head of state. But it is the PF government under him which is showing incompetence, the government is incompetence because of Edgar Chagwa Lungu, here is evidence given and you cannot take action. And this is also a sign that re-enforces our claim that this government is corrupt and on top of being corrupt, they are also violent,” said Singogo.