Accountant General Dr Dick Sichembe has warned that he will not hesitate to ensure that any accountant across the public service found abusing tax payers’ money are prosecuted.

In his New Year message to accountants in the public sector, Dr Sichembe stated that his office would not hesitate to push for full enforcement of the Public Financial Management Act, 2018, on any accountant found wanting.

Last year, several public sector accountants had been suspended or dismissed in various government ministries who perpetuated gross abuse of public funds.

Among the several cases, government, through the Civil Service Commission, dismissed three accounting staff for fraud and theft of public funds at the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure Development two months ago.

“As Accountant General, I will ensure that you are supported in your work. However, should there be anyone among us who will not align themselves to the vision of serving the nation through compliance with the Public Financial Management Act, 2018, I will not hesitate to evoke disciplinary provisions, therein, against you,” Dr. Sichembe warned.

“I will take every opportunity to ensure that there is prudent utilisation of public resources in order for the accounting cadre to effectively contribute to the performance improvement of the public service through timely attainment of resource backed performance targets. In so doing, facilitating economic stabilisation, growth, and effective financial management will be the mantra of the accounting cadre forthwith and you, colleagues, are the ones to spearhead this crusade.”

He insisted that it would not be a “business as usual” approach this year when it comes to managing public funds.

“In 2019, it will not be business as usual. Let us work together and make the accounting cadre proud contributors to nation building and prosperity in line with the aspirations of His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, and the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Margaret D. Mwanakatwe, MCC, MP. I wish you a happy and prosperous New Year,” he stated.

He also reminded accountants of their critically important public service role.

“As Accountants, we are at the core of prudent management of public resources. In this role, we are stewards of public finances and the citizens of our country trust that we will diligently exercise this duty, at all times. It is in this regard that as we execute prudent management of public resources, we should firmly, but fairly give lawful financial management guidance to functional departments to help them to apply resources on planned programmes. By performing this role, we will be effectively contributing to productivity enhancement of Ministries, Provinces and Controlling Bodies’ and helping the country to accelerate the growth of the economy through fiscal consolidation and financial discipline,” stated Dr. Sichembe.

“As I thank you for your contribution in the past year, I also wish to request that we should all make sure that 2019 becomes a year driven by discipline, honesty, hard work, integrity and accountability in the performance of our duties.”