The Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) last Wednesday sent away Home Affairs Permanent Secretary Dr Chileshe Mulenga, Deputy Inspector General of Police Bonny Kapeso and Zambia Correctional Services Commissioner General Chisela Chileshe for failure to attach questions to their responses to the audit queries cited in the 2018 Auditor General’s Report.

And PAC chairperson Howard Kunda expressed disappointment that the Ministry further referred to appendices, which it did not attach to its responses.

According to the Auditor General’s Report, the Zambia Prisons Service failed to remit to the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) amounts totalling K30,199 deducted as Pay As You Earn (PAYE) from settling in allowances paid to seven officers at Lusaka Regional Office.

The Report further cited the correctional services in unexplained circumstances transferred amounts totalling K54,645 to Prisons Industries Revolving Fund and Prisons Recreation and Benevolent Accounts, among other queries.

“A review of payment documents pertaining to Recurrent Departmental Charges account revealed that amounts totalling K54,645 involving two transactions were transferred to Prisons Industries Revolving Fund and Prisons Recreation and Benevolent Accounts under unexplained circumstances and without authority,” the Auditor General’s Report read.

It further cited the Zambia Police Service for non-receipting of K41,050, which was paid as admission of guilt fines for 171 road traffic accident offences.

“Financial Regulations No. 129 (1) and No. 130 stipulate that collectors of revenue are required to bring to account daily the whole amount of their collections and deposit into the Treasury account all the revenue collected. Contrary to the regulations, a review of the Road Traffic Accidents (RTA) register and accident dockets revealed that amounts totalling K41,050 were paid in respect of 171 road traffic accident offences recorded in the register, no cash was receipted in the admission of guilt receipt book. In addition, neither cash was banked nor found on hand,” it stated.

But when Dr Mulenga and his team appeared before the Committee, Kunda noticed that his submission did not refer to any audit queries as it only had his responses.

Kunda also observed that Dr Mulenga in his other response referred to appendices, which he did not attach, but said they were available at the office for verification.

“PS, I have noticed that you are only reading your responses, but where are the audit queries? I think that we have gone through and the only one which is okay is paragraph 23. So, we can’t continue like this, PS. We can’t be going back to the Auditor General’s Report to look for the question and then come back to your submission to look for the response. That will consume a lot of time! We will request that you go and put your house in order. Then, there is an issue in paragraph 21 where you have just said that appendix 4 and 5 are available at the office,” Kunda said.

In response, Dr Mulenga said the referred documents were security papers, which he could only share with the Committee alone.

“Chair, these are security documents. We couldn’t attach them, but we have brought them for the Committee. For the documents that are circulated, we have no control over who gets access to them,” Dr Mulenga responded.

But Kunda said: “But the query was about the authority and not the documents that you are talking about.”

Dr Mulenga again clarified his point saying: “The query had two parts. There was a question of the officers having a break over the weekend without authority and then there was a question about compliance to the procedure, which they are supposed to follow in the issuance of passports.”

Kunda, however, said the Committee was disappointed with the Ministry, especially that it was the third time it was sent back over similar mistakes.

Kunda requested that the PS and his team go back and put their house in order before next appearance before the Committee.

“Okay, I think you will have to come with them when we continue when we see that all the necessary documents and the queries are indicated so that we can have a smooth flow of dealing with these matters. Otherwise, we are not happy! We are very disappointed with this here and especially that now it is the third time. So, let us correct this situation. And going forward, we will not allow it,” cautioned Kunda.

Dr Mulenga said he regretted the situation and promised to be better next time.