The Local Government Service Commission has suspended Chongwe Municipal Council town clerk Levis Ngoma from his duties for abuse of authority of office and dishonest conduct.
The commission has also suspended 12 Chongwe Municipal Council officers and directors for dishonest conduct.
LGSC chairperson Amos Musonda said at a press briefing today that the town clerk and his directors paid themselves social holiday allowances contrary to the provisions of the ministry.
“The recent happenings at Chongwe Municipal Council are very sad and indeed unfortunate. Where with impunity and without regard to the provisions of the terms and conditions of service, the town clerk Mr Levis Mumba and his directors; paid themselves social holiday allowances contrary to the provisions of the ministry of Local Government circular no. MLGH/101/8/4 dated 13th August 2014. in which all town clerks and council secretaries were advised to stop paying abolished allowances such as social holiday allowance, talk time and other conditions of service which were not applicable. This allowance was later coverted to commutation of leave as a cover up,” Musonda said.
Musonda said the officers also paid themselves commutation of leave days in excess of their individual accrued leave days.
“They paid themselves commutation of leave days in excess of their individual accrued leave days. As at October, 2017 the town clerk Mr Levis Mumba had accrued 22 leave days but paid himself commutation of leave days for 30 days which days clearly he did not have. The scenario is the same for the other directors and officers. Commutation of leave days and salary advances were paid on one voucher with a single narration contrary to the provisions of the financial regulations. Further, the computations for accrued leave days were not done to ascertain the authenticity of the claims and yet the town clerk went ahead to approve and authorize payment on the incomplete documentation. Similarly, the advance of salary were not duly approved and the period for recovery not indicated raising suspicions as to whether or not the said advances would indeed be recovered,” he said.
Musonda further explained that they paid themselves subsistence allowance for five days to attend a one-day society for local authorities.
“They paid themselves subsistence allowance for five days to attend a one day society for local authorities Chief Executive meeting in Ndola which was held on November 30, 2017. Further, the acting Director of Finance Ms Linda Ndambo and the acting Director of Planning Ms Misozi Banda did not travel for the meeting despite having been paid subsistence allowance for five days. Worse still the town clerk who had also been paid subsistence allowance for five days equally was absent for the meeting despite having registered for the same. When the red flag was raised, the acting Director of Finance and the Acting Director of Planning refunded the subsistence allowances in the name of the cashier as an imprest contrary to the financial regulations,” he said.
Musonda said Mumba had been charged with abuse of authority of office and dishonest conduct and had been replaced with Jovax Ngoma, Council Secretary for Mpika.
“The town clerk Mr Levis Mumba has been charged with abuse of authority of office and dishonest conduct. Mr Levis Mumba is hereby with immediate effect suspended from performing his duties as town clerk. In his place, Mr Jovax Ngoma, Council Secretary for Mpika Town Council has with immediate been transferred to Chongwe Municipal Council and appointed to act as town clerk for administrative convenience,” he said.
Musonda urged the acting town clerk to immediately institute disciplinary action against the directors and officers involved in the illegalities.
“Mr Jovax Ngoma, the acting town clerk is with immediate effect to institute disciplinary action against all the directors and officers involved in these illegalities. The officers will be charged for dishonest conduct. In this regard, the officers shall be suspended from performing their duties until the matter is duly concluded. Those affected include: Director of Housing and Social Services Mr Raphael Zulu, acting Director of Administration Mrs Grace Kanyanta, acting Director of Finance Ms Linda Ndambo, acting Director of Planning Mrs Misozi Banda, acting Director of Engineering Mr Peter Banda, acting Director of Public Health Mrs Samantha Haangala Saivwampa, the Council Advocate Mrs Zelu Sisya Mulenga, the Chief Accountant Ms Eunice Mapala, the internal Auditor Mrs Elizabeth Kapembwa Mutelo, the Senior Accountancy Assistant Mr Bright Chama, the Administrative Officer Mr Obert Nyangu and the Fire Fighter Mr Aaron Chama,” said Musonda.
Musonda said the Chongwe Municipal Council happenings should serve as timely warning to all local authorities that the commission would not condone indiscipline and illegalities at the expense of service delivery.