THE Auditor General has revealed that Western Water and Sewerage Company failed to account for K1,403,820 revenue that was collected in five districts.

And the Auditor General also revealed that the utility owed the Zambia Revenue Authority and Workers Compensation Fund Control Board K8,635,791 in unpaid statutory obligations and penalties to the National Pension Scheme Authority

According to the Auditor General’s report on the accounts of water and sanitation companies for the financial year ending December 31, 2018, the utility also failed to account for cash withdrawals worth K74,736 as they were not supported by expenditure details.

“Unaccounted for cash withdrawals, an examination of payment vouchers and bank statements revealed that cash withdrawals in amounts totalling K74,736 were not accounted for in that they were not supported by expenditure details. In this regard, the purposes for which the funds were drawn were unknown. In addition, amounts totalling K14,035 were collected by an engineer on behalf of three (3) officers from the Ministry of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection, whose details were not indicated on the attendance list or claim forms. As at 31st December 2019, the money had not been recovered from the officer,” the report read.

“Unaccounted for Revenue Financial Regulation No. 129 (3) provides that the daily cash collections should be brought to account. However, amounts totalling K1,403,820 collected in Senanga, Sesheke, Kaoma, Kalabo and Mongu during the period from 2016 to 2018 were not accounted for in that the daily water sales collections were neither supported by deposit slips nor was cash found on hand. Further, amounts collected could not be traced on the respective bank statements which may result in misappropriation.”

The report also revealed that over K300,000 imprest was issued to 21 officers but had not been retired during the period under review.

“Imprest in amounts totalling K328,697 issued to twenty-one (21) officers during the period under review had not been retired and no recoveries had been effected as at 31st December 2019. It was, therefore, not possible to ascertain whether the activities for which the imprest was issued were undertaken,” it read.

The report revealed that a further K74,146 meant for implementation of projects was misapplied in Kaoma.

“During the period under review, the Ministry of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection released amounts totalling K2,936,502 as support towards implementation of projects to improve the delivery of water services in Mongu, Kaoma, and Kalabo districts. During the period from October to December 2017, amounts totalling K74,146 meant for the Kaoma emergency works were applied on procurement of twenty (20) cell phones for staff (K50,000) and a foreign trip (K24,146) by the Managing Director, activities not related to the purpose of the project funds. Unaccounted for Project Materials-Kaoma; Materials costing K11,630 procured for the works were not fitted or utilised on the structures and no disposal details were availed for audit. Casing Pipes 8, K610 K4,880; Wire Fence Rolls 3 K450 K1,350; DN Flanges 12 K450 K5,400; total K11,630,” the report revealed.

The report revealed that five officers were paid double salaries in December 2017, salary was paid to an employee who had resigned for seven months in addition to the irregular salary increase for the finance manager without board approval.

“During the period under review, five (5) officers were paid salaries in amounts totalling K45,730 outside the payroll for the month of December 2017. However, it was observed that the officers were also paid salaries in the same month through the payroll resulting in double payments. As at 31st December 2019, the money had not been recovered from the officers. Payment of Salaries to an Officer who resigned On 25th April 2018, an officer resigned from the company. However, the officer was not removed from the payroll and the company continued to pay the officer the salary for seven (7) months in amounts totalling to K69,346. As at 31st December 2019, the funds had not been recovered,” it read.

“The Company recruited a finance manager on a three year contract term. The monthly salary at the time of engagement was K10,962.50 per month. However, a review of the payroll revealed that the officer’s monthly salary had increased from K10,962.50 to K12,943.90. No Board approval for the increment was availed for audit. In this regard, the officer was irregularly paid amounts totalling K15,851.20 in excess of his salary for the period from 1 st May to 31st December 2018. As at 31st December 2019, the amounts had not been recovered.”

During the period under review, the Company owed terminal benefits and other personal emoluments in amounts totalling K3,112,634 which were still outstanding as at 31st December 2019.

And the Auditor General revealed that the company was owing K8,635,791 in unpaid statutory obligations by end of December 2019.

“Failure to remit statutory obligations as at 31st December 2018, the Company was owing a total amount of K8,635,791 in statutory obligations to the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA), Worker’s Compensation Fund Control Board (WCFCB) and penalties to National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA). As at 31st December 2019, the funds had not been remitted to the respective institutions,” read the report.