President Egdar Lungu says he is just as frustrated as donors on the theft of aid and has since ordered Secretary to the Cabinet Dr Rowland Msiska to conclude investigations and take decisive action within a week.
President Lungu has also directed that the Minister of Community Development and Social Services Hon Emerine Kabanshi and Minister of Finance Hon Margaret Mwanakatwe to continue with their engagements with donors to assure them of the remedial measures government has been undertaking since suspected cases of misuse surfaced earlier this year.
This is according to a statement issued by Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations Amos Chanda, Tuesday.
Chanda revealed that four months ago, the President ordered an administrative inquiry into suspected misuse of the social cash transfer funds but regretted that a comprehensive report was only submitted to his office on 14th September 2018.
Chanda stated that the Head of State now wanted all remaining actions and remedial measures to be availed to him within one week.
“I want a speedy and decisive investigation into the matter to establish the status of the disbursement of the social cash transfer programme. Wherever cases of abuse requiring criminal investigations may arise, such cases must be reported to relevant agencies and where administrative action is required, I want to see prompt action taken,” Chanda quoted President Lungu as saying.
Chanda stated that President Lungu was concerned about the reported abuse because it was hurting the poor.
“The President says he is as frustrated as the donors financing the programme because his priority in this regard is the plight of the poor. The President is not satisfied with the pace of the ongoing administrative measures and so he wants quicker forensic audits by the Auditor General and other relevant government internal audit systems. On instructions from the President, the Secretary to the Cabinet led a government team to a meeting with donors on 5th September 2018, and shared with them the measures being undertaken to address the problems encountered in the social cash transfer programme,” stated Chanda.
“The President has been informed that preliminary information indicated that a total of K43,819,164 remains outstanding to the beneficiaries in Luapula, Northern, North-Western, Muchinga, Western and Copperbelt provinces. The President has directed that the Secretary to the Cabinet takes appropriate action in line with all the provisions of the Joint Financing Agreement between government and the cooperating partners.”