Works and Supply Minister Felix Mutati has warned public service employees against abusing government vehicles for personal business.

In a statement issued by ministry spokesperson, Ndubi Mvula, Mutati said punitive action would be taken against any employee found wanting.

Mutati said government relied on its fleet of vehicles for an efficient transport system in order to fully deliver on its promises in a cost-effective manner.

“However, reports of misuse of government vehicles has been noted leading to high expenditure on fuel, service and repairs. It is important to note that all utility government fleet are supposed to be used to provide services related to government operations. In this regard, all users and drivers of government vehicles should have, government competence, signed log books and a weekend pass,” Mutati said.

He insisted all government employees with the responsibility of running and utilising public fleet are expected to abide by regulations that govern the use and management of the vehicles.

Mutati also urged members of the public to report any public officer seen misusing government vehicles.

He revealed that his ministry had noted a growing trend in the misuse of government vehicles such as; driving of vehicles without filling in a log book and with an unsigned log book as well as being on an unauthorised route.

“Other trends are driving a government vehicle without a certificate of competence, without a weekend pass and for personal errands as well as parking at unauthorised places such as bars. The Minister has also noted that there are several penalties that may be applied on any public service employee found wanting, which ranges from K150.00 to K1,000.00 in fines. In order to enforce compliance, the Ministry shall strengthen the implementation with measurers such as undertaking regular road patrols and spot checks by the controller of government transport during, after working hours, on weekends and public holidays, and will include the use of breathalysers to arrest the trend of driving under the influence of alcohol. And the other measure will be to impound all government vehicles with poor vehicle maintenance records and forfeit to the Ministry of Works and Supply,” Mutati warned.

Last month, Mutati had told journalists in Lusaka at a press briefing that his Ministry was implementing a transport policy and freight management system aimed at tackling government’s K2 billion expenditure on its vast fleet of around 14,000 vehicles.

“Most of you may not be aware that it’s costing us as government K2 billion annually as audited by the Ministry of Finance in maintenance and other related cost of government transport. Surely, something is wrong with that,” said Mutati.

“So we need a policy, who must have a vehicle? As it is, everybody is just running around. Are we monitoring movement, fuel consumption, repairs, insurance? Are we holding on to vehicles that are beyond their lifetime? So, we need a policy, we need a fleet management system in order for us to control that.”