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Works PS angers Kawandami for including her on list of indebted ex-ministersBy Sipilisiwe Ncube on 5 Dec 2018
The Ministry of Works and Supply has angered former Chiefs and Traditional Affairs minister Susan Kawandami for including her on a list of names of former government officials that still owe the Treasury for furniture which they bought on offer in 2016 and 2017.
Last week, Works and Supply Permanent Secretary Agnes Musunga told the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that some cabinet ministers, former ministers and MPs owed government amounts totalling K253,993.79 for the said goods, Kawandami being among those listed.
But the former minister yesterday stormed News Diggers! to present proof that she had in fact settled her debt and further produced evidence that the ministry acknowledged receipt of the monies she paid.
According to the letter which was written to her on November 14, 2018 with referenced “Payment of furniture K7, 859.25 and signed by Musunga, the ministry had reminded Kawandami that the records showed that she still owed the stated amount.
“I write to inform you that we carried out necessary enquiries regarding payment of furniture offered to you to purchase in 2016. The findings from our enquiries indicate that your gratuity was not adjusted to liquidate outstanding amount nor is there any indication of payment for the same. Our records show that you still owe an amount of K7, 857.25. The purpose of writing is to remind you to pay the outstanding amount at the earliest possible time. You may wish to know that this matter has been subject of Audit Query and it is desirous that it is brought to closure. We shall appreciate your response at the earliest possible time, preferably by 23rd November 2018,” Musunga stated in the letter which was also copied to the minister and the secretary to cabinet.
But Kawandami said she received the letter with shock because she had already made the full payment of the amount she owed on a receipt number 6995240 dated 26th September 2016 and the payment was already acknowledged by the PS works.
To prove that she was wrongly accused of owing government for the said furniture, Kawandami produced a letter of acknowledgement of receipt and apology from the permanent secretary.
“Reference is made to your minute No. NWS/71/27/1 dated 14th November, 2018 regarding the above mentioned (Payment for furniture: Yourself). I hereby acknowledge receipt of Receipt number 6995240 of 26th September, 2016 amounting to K7, 858.25 being proof of payment for the furniture that was offered in 2016. We have amended the records to indicate that you do not owe government any money for the above sell,” acknowledged Musunga.
She complained to News Diggers that the Ministry had put her in an awkward position because the report produced to PAC was false and damaging to her reputation.
“I was fuming when I saw this story because I had a meeting with the PS and the Minister, and I produced the receipt of payment. So I asked them how my name remained on that list and they also wondered how the officers in the ministry did not correct the information. I am deputy chairperson of the party and this put’s me in a very awkward situation. How can I go to the public and preach good morals when my name is being dragged in such false stories, it is very unfair,” said Kawandami.
“This failure of accountability goes to show the caliber of these officers who are responsible for this in those ministries, because if someone paid, that money must be there somewhere. There must be a system that shows when money is paid, even if they don’t know where it came from, it must be there so that when someone provides a receipt like I have done, they must say ‘yes, we have that money’. But if its not there, then where did it go? This is how innocent people go to jail just like this, it is so unfair. Please help me clean my name, I don’t like being involved in any scandals.”
About Sipilisiwe Ncube
Sipilisiwe Ncube is a Zambian journalist with a background in radio news.
Email: sipilisiwe [at] diggers [dot] news
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