Government, through the Civil Service Commission, has dismissed three accounting staff for fraud and theft of public funds at the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure Development.

According to a statement issued from Ministry of Finance spokesperson Chileshe Kandeta, the three dismissed accountants are Enoce Kashweka, a principal accountant; Eugene Kausu, an accounts assistant and Hutson Hachuma, another accounts assistant.

The stolen funds will be recovered from the terminal and pension benefits of the dismissed officials, according to Kandeta.

“Further, the due process of the law will be pursued by Law Enforcement Agencies because of the criminal nature of the offences committed,” read a statement issued in Lusaka, Wednesday.

“Meanwhile, Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba has reiterated that to curb fraud and theft of public funds, controlling officers need to be on high alert in monitoring the happenings in their institutions. Yamba added that controlling officers need to stand firm in guiding their institutions on public financial management matters as they are instrumental in actualizing President Edgar Lungu’s vision of ensuring that prudent management of public resources is entrenched across the breadth and width of the public sector.”

Yamba reiterated that government will not hesitate to evoke the Public Finance Management Act, 2018, to punish offending public officers.

“Yamba has also reiterated that the Ministry of Finance WILL NOT HESITATE to evoke the sanction provisions of the Public Finance Management Act, 2018, against erring public officials when regulations governing the handling and utilization of public resources are contravened,” read the statement.

As part of the process of quantifying the value of public assets so that adequate public property safeguard systems are put in place, the Ministry of Finance has now embarked on a country-wide asset registration exercise for all public assets and stores. The exercise is expected to strengthen accountability, oversight, management, and control of public assets in accordance with the Act. Last week, the Ministry of Finance organised a Controlling Officers Seminar 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 further strengthen internal control systems in the management of public resources.”