Auditor General’s report details how Social Cash Transfer money was squandered

The latest Auditor General’s Report has revealed how over K30 million disbursed to ZAMPOST to pay 144, 142 poor and vulnerable citizens under the Social Cash Transfer programme did not reach the beneficiaries and the money vanished before it was even deposited into the ZAMPOST accounts.

And the report which covered the year ended December 2017 further reveals millions meant for the Social Cash Transfer money allocated to Luapula and Western Province under a distribution agreement with ZAMPOST were diverted to Copperbelt, Northern and Muchinga Provinces among other areas outside the contract; but it still did not reach the beneficiaries.

Meanwhile the Auditor General has revealed how the Zambia Army spent millions to procure utility vehicles which were never delivered.

The Report further details how the University of Zambia paid over K19 million in meal allowances millions to over 3,800 students who are not on the government bursary programme.

During the period under review, the Ministry of Community Development remitted amounts totalling K109,386,458 to ZAMPOST for payment to scheme beneficiaries to districts in Luapula and Western Provinces only, according to the contract.

“It was however observed that for the September/October 2017 Cycle the Ministry remitted funds in amounts totalling K30,947,320 to ZAMPOST for disbursements to North Western, Northern and Muchinga Provinces and Masaiti and Lufwanyama on the Copperbelt which were not included in the contract. In her response dated 14th September 2018, the Controlling Officer stated that having noted that the contract did not adequately cover the provinces in question, the parties signed an addendum on 26th April 2018 after it was cleared by the Attorney General’s Office. However, the inclusion of North Western, Northern and Muchinga Provinces and the two districts on the Copperbelt was done in October 2017 before the addendum was signed,” The report revealed.

“During the period under review, the Ministry remitted amounts totalling K30,947,320 to ZAMPOST to pay the September/October 2017 cycle to 144,142 beneficiaries in Northern, Muchinga and North Western. However, as at 31st August 2018, ZAMPOST had not paid the beneficiaries and the funds were not accounted for in that there was no evidence of banking and no cash was found on hand. Contrary to the Appropriation Act of 2016, amounts totalling K116,893 meant for Social Cash Transfer Scheme activities were spent on activities such as Grants for juvenile conveyance, purchase of furniture and contribution towards traditional ceremonies among others, activities not related to the purpose for which the funds were appropriated.”

Under the Ministry of Defence, the report revealed that that the Zambia Army bought cars which were never delivered.

“On 16th July 2017, Zambia Army entered into a contract with a local supplier, Edat Ecosan Development, for the supply and delivery of 15 second hand Toyota Crown motor vehicles at a contract price of K2,400,000 with a delivery period of four to eight 8 weeks from the date the contract was signed. The terms of payment were that the advance payment of 25 per cent of the contract price shall be paid within 30 days of signing the contract, 50 per cent to be paid within 60 days on receipt of the goods and upon submission of the documents, while the 25 per cent balance to be paid within 60 days after the date of the acceptance certificate. On 19th October 2017, the contractor was paid the advance payment of K600,000 being 25 per cent of the contract price. However, as at 31st July 2018, only 10 vehicles had been delivered. In addition, there was no evidence that the Army had taken any action against the contractor for the failure to deliver the remaining vehicles,” reported the Auditor General.

“Zambia Army entered into a contract with Razz Exports of South Africa for the supply and delivery of an ambulance at a contract price of K952,018 122 (R1,356,538) with a delivery period of six to eight weeks. On 9th October 2017, the contractor was paid the advance payment of K238,005. However, as at 31st July 2018, the ambulance had not been delivered. In his response dated 17th August 2018, the Controlling Officer stated that the supplier had delivered an ambulance with wrong specifications which was rejected and sent back, and that the supplier had been given up to end of June 2018 to deliver the ambulance. However, as at 31st August 2018, the ambulance had not been delivered.”

And the report revealed how Maina Soko military Hospital in Lusaka spent over K1.3 million without authority from the Secretary to the Treasury.

“An examination of accounting and other records maintained at the Ministry Headquarters, Defence Services Commands, Maina Soko Military Hospital and Staff Colleges and physical inspections of selected projects carried out in March 2018 revealed the following: On 31st December 2017, Maina Soko Military Hospital had a bank balance of K1,304,589. It was observed that the Hospital had raised cheques between 27th and 30th December 2017 amounting to K1,304,589. Since these funds were committed the Treasury could not mop them at the end of 2017. However, in January 2018, the cheques were cancelled without any apparent reasons and the funds were later utilised without authority from the Secretary to the Treasury,” the report read.

And the report explained that the University of Zambia billed government for funds paid to students who were not in the bursary data base.

“A comparison of the invoices from UNZA for sponsored students to the database of Bursaries Committee supported students revealed that 3,568 students were appearing on the UNZA invoice but not on the bursaries list of Government supported students. As a result, the University over billed Government in amounts totalling K71,082,937 for the 3,568 students. In addition, it was observed that there were 3,191 students who appeared on the bill but were not on the overall registered GRZ Sponsored students database,” revealed the Auditor General.

“During the year under review, meal allowances in amounts totalling K19,503,068 were paid to 3,864 students who did not appear on the list of students on the University Invoices. As a result, it was not possible to ascertain whether the payments were made to intended students.”

         

Joseph Mwenda

About Joseph Mwenda

Joseph Mwenda is a Zambian journalist experienced in political news writing, photography and video editing.
Email: joseph [at] diggers [dot] news

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