Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba has warned that all erring controlling officers found abusing public resources will sternly be dealt with.

In a statement issued by Ministry of Finance spokesperson Chileshe Kandeta, Yamba cautioned controlling officers in all government ministries against abusing public funds.

He reiterated that controlling officers remained instrumental in actualising President Edgar Lungu’s vision of ensuring prudence in the management and utilisation of public resources.

Government has in recent weeks suspended several public officers, such as Ministry of General Education Permanent Secretary Henry Tukombe, among 80 other staff, who were found wanting in the abuse of donor funds.

“Mr. Yamba says the Ministry of Finance will not hesitate to evoke the sanction provisions of the Public Finance Management Act, 2018, against erring controlling officers and other public officials when regulations and rules governing the handling and utilisation of public resources are contravened. He has urged controlling officers to ensure that the irregularities pronounced in the Auditor General’s Report begin to get reversed in future audit instances,” Kandeta stated.

“The Secretary to the Treasury was speaking to controlling officers at Protea Hotel in Chisamba, Friday, 2nd November, 2018, during the official opening of a sensitisation seminar on the New Public Financial Management Act, 2018. Under section 10 of the Act, a controlling officer is responsible and accountable for the proper financial management and expenditure of public resources appropriated to a public body.”

According to Kandeta, Yamba told delegates that the Treasury Single Account had been rolled out to 57 out of 62 targeted public sector institutions.

“He told the delegates that the Treasury Single Account; a unified structure of government bank accounts established under section 25 of the Public Finance Act, No. 1, 2018, has been rolled out to 57 out of 62 targeted public sector institutions. He said the impact of the Treasury Single Account has been phenomenal as the Treasury is now able to effectively manage cash resources at reduced cost,” stated Kandeta.

Meanwhile, speaking at the same event, Luapula Province Permanent Secretary Dr Buleti Nsemukila stated that controlling officers needed to build their financial governance team through close collaboration with accounting, auditing and procurement personnel.

“He warned his fellow controlling officers against disregarding advice on financial management matters. Dr. Nsemukila further cautioned the controlling officers in whose provinces Expos are taking place to be on high alert and assure that all resources, included those donated by the private sector and other well-wishers, are disclosed and properly accounted for,” read the statement.

The Controlling Officers Seminar was arranged by the Office of the Accountant-General, Ministry of Finance, to help the delegates to appreciate the overview of the Public Finance Management Act, No. 1, 2018, and review the financial and stores regulations to bring them in conformity with the new Act, and to further strengthen internal control systems in the management of public resources.