Thieving civil servants are not being charged or fired because they do not work in isolation, says Civil Servants and Allied Workers Union of Zambia (CSAWUZ) president Davies Chiyobe.

Commenting on the observation in the latest Auditor General’s report where some erring officers were being transferred instead of being punished for not accounting for funds, Chiyobe said the civil servants were being used as conduits.

“It is very clear that if a person has been transferred after such an act, it simply means the supervisors begin to be involved. Those are people have that power to recommend for the transfer of workers. If they are transferring their workers, then what are they trying to hide? The junior officers are being used as conduits. We cannot expect civil servants that have misappropriated government funds to be transferred, No! Those in all fairness must be investigated to find where the money went to because they cannot account for it,” Chiyobe said in an interview.

“There are certain things which may happen that maybe an officer would have been directed by the supervisor to say ‘can you get this money and take it this side’. This is an officer who is under instruction from the supervisor and he may feel it is insubordination for this officer to refuse. He may proceed and do it under instruction from the supervisor because believe me you there in no junior officer who will take that money with his own conscious without consulting the supervisor on top.”

He said if they were acting alone, public service workers who committed offences would be charged.

“I am from the public service. Normally, depending on the instructions that come, the subordinates and other authorities begin to wear down and follow the instruction. But there is nothing they can do because instructions have come from above. So when the audit report comes and this junior officer has not committed any offence of any kind now to wash the faces of those people who may have instructed the junior officer, it is to transfer him so that he is quiet but at the end of the day who would have suffered? It is the person who misapplied the money under instruction,” Chiyobe said.

“That is what is happening and no one can deny it. If there is any misapplication of money, those people would have been charged if they did it on their own and you would have been hearing that so many civil servants have been charged and are facing disciplinary action. Now, if you are working under instruction, can you refuse a transfer from the senior? For misapplication, it is the system and that is why you see those people can not be punished,” he said.

Chiyobe further advised civil servants to ensure that all instructions were in writing.

“The only caution that our members is that when those instructions come, Let them be in writing and let the supervisors sign. Otherwise at the end of the day our members will be left alone,” said Chiyobe.