Copperbelt Permanent Secretary Bright Nundwe has asked the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to help his provincial administration obtain K18 million funding for the compensation of displaced farmers at the new airport construction site.

Meanwhile, PAC sent away Nundwe and his team for submitting conflicting documents and failure to attach certain relevant information to the responses.

Nundwe, who appeared before the committee on Friday to respond to audit queries cited in the Auditor General’s report for the financial year ended 31st December 2017, said he had on several occasions written to the Ministry of Finance but nothing had happened.

Upon being given chance to present his submission, Nundwe first praised his province that it had done “very well” before airing his grievances.

“I wish to bring to your attention chair that the Copperbelt provincial administration has on several occasions written to the Ministry of Finance requesting for funding to complete the resettlement works in Misaka. The Ministry of Finance therefore was written to on 14th August 2018, 11th September 2018 respectively, requesting for the final disbursement of funds in amounts totalling to K17, 58,329.28 for compensation, realignment, beaconing as well as other activities relating to the allocation or relocation of farmers affected by the airport construction. As of 31st October 2018, the minister has not provided the required financial resources up to date. I will be grateful if the committee could assist the provincial administration in obtaining the said resources from the Ministry of Finance so that outstanding financial obligations relating to the resettlement exercise are met and the respective families compensated and relocated,” Nundwe pleaded.

Committee chairperson Howard Kunda, however, noticed the omission of the referred attached documents and interrupted the PS so that he could scrutinize what was submitted.

“We can’t connect with, for example, schedule seven that you have written. Where is it connected to? You have just written ‘unaccounted for stores, schedule seven’ but in the document, in your submission, it’s not referred to. All the schedules that you have provided we have not…and this I wanted you to show us. That is why we even let you to submit the first paragraph because we thought that you have a way of dealing with it but we can’t connect. And PS, you have appeared before this committee [and] you know very well that you are supposed to put these documents in order. And from your submission the first time is that you have done very well, but look at this document! We can’t connect anything if you look at the issues to do with your attachment. Then even your attachment, it’s just writing. Surely you were given so much time to prepare so that when you come here, you present something that the nation will accept,” Kunda observed.

He gave Nundwe and his team a week in which to make a fresh submission with all the relevant documents attached.

“We would like to give you chance to put things properly because we want to follow. When you refer to a query, it has to correspond with the evidence that you have provided. But right now we can’t, even when we were going through during the time we have been going through…and we don’t sleep. Listen to me PS, to prepare for this meeting, we sleep less hours so that we can come and deal with these matters effectively and conclusively. But with the way the documents have been put, we can’t refer to anything. You know [that] when you are coming here PS, this is very serious. It’s not something that we will just come and have a talk-show and it ends there. We want a change [and] that is why I have been asking you [that] have you gone through this Public Finance Management Act? Because it spells out everything that you are supposed to be doing PS. And it shows that you didn’t pay attention to what is here because if you are saying that you have brought documents now, then it means you have just realised that you are supposed to bring documents. So we will give you chance to go back so that you can come back with a well-organised document,” Kkunda said.

He asked the provincial controlling officer to appear on 16th November at 11:30 hours.

“Surely, Copperbelt is very disappointing but we will give you a benefit of doubt and allow you to prepare yourselves properly. I think that we have made our point [and so] we would like you to please us and in pleasing us, you need to do a good job. You are required to come back on Friday at 11:30 hours. We will give you one week to deal with everything that we have talked about,” said Kunda.