Speaking when he appeared before the said committee to respond to audit queries cited in the auditor general’s report for the financial year ended 31st December 2017, Kabwe was reminded that he had vowed not to appear before the committee this year.
“Definitely Honourable members you can see from my response, my posture is that I am not a happy person because these are simple things that we shouldn’t be appearing before this committee. We should have dealt with them [and] I’ve told my officers and they will confess to themselves. I’ve told them [that] come next year when the audits starts, in the preliminary audits if there will be anything, we will separate ways with my team. That I’ve assured them. I don’t want to come here next year. Last year I said I don’t want to come here [but] I am here [and] it’s a shame on myself; although on a good side because the queries are not as they used to be showing that we are getting in the right direction. I have told them that some of these things we can resolve them at provincial level even without getting to PAC. Anyone who will be found wanting, there are enough laws vested in the controlling officer and secretary to the cabinet and we will deal with issues at provincial level,” Kabwe told the committee.
He complained that operations in the province were hampered because of inadequate resources.
“We are not leaving the internal auditors. Our internal auditor is our backbone in terms of implementing or following the act (Public Finance Management Act). Sometimes our officers are not given tools that will help them to carry their job very well. To show commitment on my part, I have even released one of my vehicles to internal auditors so that they carry their work. Even when director finance was appointed, tools were not given from the accountant general [so] I had to surrender again so that they carry on to do their work. That is commitment on our part and we hope that since the control of internal audit is here, they will be able to give our internal auditors tools so that they will be able to carry out their work. And I know that my office cannot function without accounts and audit [units],” Kabwe said.
Later, Committee vice chairperson Brenda Tambatamba who is also Kasempa UPND member of parliament asked if there were any measures to end the misuse of public funds.
“All these management responses are full of regrets, [now] as you were signing this document controlling officer, what is your posture to your staff going forward in terms of ensuring that there is accountability and that due diligence is taking place. What is your posture to your team going forward?” Tambatamba asked.
In response, Kabwe responded that he had warned his staff that they would part ways if such cases repeated.
He also bragged that the province was thinking outside the box so as to open up other investment opportunities.
“Honorable chair as a province we are thinking outside the box to try and see how we can help government to complete some of these projects. And I am sure you supported us as members of parliament [because] we saw some of you during our investment expo. This is trying to help us open up rural areas such as Ngabwe. Because of our investment expo, we have an investor who is putting up 1,000 housing units in Ngabwe, we have an investor who is putting up a 100 megawatts of solar in Ngabwe because of our expo, we have an investor who is putting up a big plant which will be launched by His Excellency the president this Tuesday. All this is because of thinking outside the box,” said Kabwe.