Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe says officers found guilty of financial misconduct will be suspended, dismissed and prosecuted, and that action has already commenced on the maladministration of the Social Cash Transfer funds as well as donor aid at the Ministry of General Education.
And Mwanakatwe says government has continued engaging with International Monetary Fund (IMF) visiting staff on the possibility of a Fund-supported programme.
In a statement, Mwanakatwe pledged stiff action on erring public officers found guilty of financial misconduct.
“Government wishes to reiterate that with the strengthened Public Finance Management Act, officers found guilty of financial misconduct will be suspended, dismissed and/or prosecuted. Action has already commenced on the mal-administration of the Social Cash Transfer programme and the reported mismanagement of funds in the education sector. Government will progress the forensic audit in both Ministries that will be the basis for final action. Similar action is being taken in Ministries where mismanagement has been unearthed by auditors. As part of the action to address misuse of funds, the government has already reimbursed the contributions of the United Kingdom to the Social Cash Transfer programme as forensic investigations continue and better systems are put in place,” Mwanakatwe announced.
“Government has undertaken work to strengthen the procurement law and enact a new Planning and Budgeting Bill. Government has also strengthened control systems in the IFMIS and rolled it out to all government Ministries, provinces and spending agencies. We have also instituted measures to ensure strict control and use of imprest across government and upgraded the audit function under the office of the Controller of Internal Audit. On the basis of these measures, a number of cases of misuse of funds have been unearthed and government is proactively taking measures to deal with these cases. The findings under the Ministries of Community Development and Social Welfare and (General) Education are part of the findings of the improved audit function. Cases in other Ministries have also been unearthed.”
And Mwanakatwe added that government has continued engaging with IMF visiting staff on the possibility of the IMF-supported programme.
“Government has continued taking measures that will form a basis for facilitating discussions with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the possibility of an IMF-supported programme. In the meantime, engagement has continued through staff visits, with one upcoming in the 1st week of November, 2018, and an Article 4 mission to follow through next year. Cooperation with donors will continue based on the principles of transparency, accountability, prudence and cost effectiveness in the use of their resources. To this effect, the government will continue to strengthen its financial governance systems to ensure that cooperating partners continue to have confidence and any fraud is detected before it happens,” stated Mwanakatwe.