The Auditor General’s Report has narrated how one Director of Finance at the Mansa Municipal Council was paid K1,875 as a “social holiday” allowance, which was never recovered.
In the Report on the Accounts of Local Authorities for the financial years ended December 31, 2015, 2016 and 2017, the Auditor General also revealed that the Council failed to recover salary advances of four officers amounting to K11,500, bringing the total amount of unrecovered funds to K13,375.
“Contrary to Ministry of Local Government and Housing Circular No. MLGH/101/8/4 of 2014, which abolished the payment of entertainment allowances, such as social holiday allowances, on 16th February, 2017, an amount of K1,875 was paid to the-then Director of Finance as social holiday allowance. As at 31st March, 2019, the amount had not been recovered,” the Report narrated.
The Council equally failed to recover salary advances of four officers and irregular payment of sitting allowances for officers who attended procurement and evaluation committee meetings.
“Contrary to Terms and Conditions of Service for the Local Government No. 105 (d), recoveries in respect of salary advances amounting to K11,500 paid to four officers in May and June, 2017, had not been effected as at 31st March, 2019,” it added.
Sitting allowances totalling K12,600 were also paid despite being abolished in 2013.
“Contrary to Cabinet Office Circular No.11 of 2013, which abolished the payment of sitting allowances with effect from 1st September, 2013, the Council paid sitting allowances in amounts totaling K12,600 to officers who attended procurement and evaluation committee meetings,” the Report read.
The Report further disclosed the failure by the Council to prepare financial statements and to provide lease agreements.
“Contrary to Section 43 (3) of the Local Government Act, Cap 281 of the laws of Zambia, which requires the Council to prepare financial statement for each financial year within six months after the end of the financial year of the Council or within such longer period as the Minister may determine, the Council did not prepare financial statements for the financial year ended 31st December, 2017,” the report disclosed.
“During the period under review, the Council rented out a total of 15 shops. However, the Council did not have lease agreements for three shops from main market and two shops from Senama market. In this regard, it was not possible to ascertain when the tenants occupied the shops and the amount of rentals, which were collectable.”
Meanwhile, the Report also revealed that the Council’s outstanding obligations increased from K19,214,051 in 2017 to K32,107,966 as at October 31, 2017.
“According to paragraph 1 of the Local Government Circular dated 10th February, 2016, from the Ministry of Local Government and Housing, the Councils were advised to liquidate external and internal debt from local revenues as a measure to manage the indebtedness. However, the Council’s outstanding obligations increased from K19,214,051 in 2017 to K32,107,966 as at 31st October. As at 31st March, 2019, there was no evidence of how the Council was planning to dismantle the debt given that the Council on average collects revenue of K7,084,771 annually,” read the report.
The Auditor General also observed that three payments amounting to K14,719 made from the Equalisation Fund were also not supported with relevant documents.
“Contrary to Local Authorities Financial Regulation No. 86, three payments amounting to K14,719 made from the Equalisation Fund were not supported with relevant documents,” revealed the Report.