The Report of the Auditor General on the Accounts of the Republic of Zambia for the financial year ended 31st December 2017 is out with glaring irregularities in the various Ministries, Provinces and other spending agencies.
The Report which was taken to Parliament on Tuesday has highlighted a sharp increase in unaccounted for funds that has risen from K386, 000 in 2016 to K31 million in 2017, misappropriations of Funds from K3 million in 2016 to 5 million kwacha in 2017 and overpayments from K1 million in 2016 to K7 million in 2017. The irregularities in some instances represent an increased by more than 500 percent.
But the report also shows that there was some reductions in unaccounted for revenue from K3 million in 2016 to K873, 000 in 2017, unvouched Expenditure from 170 million kwacha in 2016 to 14 million kwacha in 2017 and Undelivered materials from K116 million to K1 million among others.
According to a statement released by Auditor General’s Head of Public Relations Ellen Chikale, although the misapplication of funds seemed to have reduced from K162 million in 2016 to K61 million in 2017, it remained the highest ranking irregularity for the period under review and continues to be an area of high concern for the Office.
“It entails that institutions applied funds budgeted for a specific programme on unrelated programmes without the authority from Secretary to the Treasury thereby depriving the beneficiaries of the much needed benefits from the said programmes. The nation may wish to know that although Misapplication of Funds on face value may appear to be a lesser evil especially if applied on buying medicines in hospitals, it may have some criminal undertones especially if paid to officers purporting to be undertaking government programmes when in actual fact they may have no intentions to travel and carry out the work. This irregularity deprives Government of the resources to be applied on developmental issues instead of benefiting a few individuals,” Chikale stated.
“The other irregularity that is of high concern to us is irregular payments which have increased from K1 million in 2016 to K21 million in 2017. The audit of 2017 covered areas that cut across all the five (5) Developmental Strategic Areas of the Seventh National Development Plan and the issues mentioned in the report are those issues which could not be resolved during the audit process and those which were highlighted in the previous reports, but had not been corrected as of 24th September, 2018. It is also worth noting that the Office interacted and communicated with Controlling Officers whose accounts were audited at various levels. The purpose of this interaction was to provide an opportunity for the Controlling Officers to clarify and take corrective action on the findings of the audits by so doing demonstrate the value and benefits of the Supreme Audit Institution (SAI).
The Report contains seventy four (74) paragraphs consisting of sixty one (61) paragraphs on audit matters whilst thirteen (13) paragraphs are on other matters. In addition, the Report contains audit recommendations which are aimed at addressing the issues raised during the audit process.”
The table below shows a comparative summary of some of the major issues contained in the report for your scrutiny.