THE Interim Audit Report on the utilisation of COVID-19 resources for the period 1st February to 31st July, 2020, has revealed that the Ministry of Finance failed to indicate the actual funds it received from cooperating partners amounting to K6.3 billion.

And the Report revealed that there was also no evidence of reconciliation of the donations given to the Ministry of Health by the Jack Ma Foundation.

The Report indicated that cooperating partners, like the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the United States government, among others, committed nearly K6.4 billion collectively, which had not been disclosed by the Ministry of Finance.

“As at 31st July, 2020, Zambia had received pledges and commitments from both local and international (bilateral and multilateral) cooperating partners in amounts totaling K6,399,286,226: African Development Bank US $67.5 million, equivalent to K215,000,000; World Bank US $79.9 million equivalent to K1,438,200,000; European Union, EUR89.3 million equivalent to K1,747,800,000; Global Fund US $6.7 million equivalent to K120,600,000; Germany, EUR18.5 million equivalent to K362,086,226; United States of America, US $14.5 million equivalent to K261,000,000; United Kingdom (DfD), GBP46.4 million equivalent to K1,031,400,000; Sweden, US $12.4 million equivalent to K223,200,000; total US $355,515,901.00 equivalent to K6,399,286,226,” the Report narrated.

“However, the Ministry of Finance had not indicated the actual funds received from the cooperating partners listed above as at 31st July, 2020. A review of press releases by the Ministry of Finance done in June, 2020, revealed that there were pledges and donations in the form of cash in amounts totalling K12,922,755, Aid-In-Kind valued at K74,383,526 and US $111,600 and other assorted items not valued.”

And the Report revealed that there was no reconciliation between the Ministry of Health and cooperating partners in the donations that were given to help in the fight against COVID-19.

The Report stated that there was also no evidence of reconciliation of the donations given to the Ministry of Health by Jack Ma Foundation.

“A review of documentation from the Embassy of the Republic of Zambia in Addis Ababa revealed that Zambia had been allocated 200,000 COVID-19 test kits, 1,000,000 face masks, 1,000 medical use protective suits and shields from the Jack Ma Foundation. The donated consignment arrived in Zambia on 24th March, 2020. As at 31st July, 2020, there was no evidence of reconciliation between the items indicated in the correspondence from the Embassy of Zambia in Addis Ababa with the actual items received by Medical Stores Limited,” the Report read.

“Further, the Ministry had not provided the disposal details regarding where the received items had been distributed. In response, the controlling officer, Ministry of Health, stated that a reconciliation between the pledges in the documentation and the items received had since been undertaken and documentation was available for verification. However, the audit verification conducted on 14th August, 2020, revealed that the reconciliation had not been done.”

The Report further revealed that there were equally no reconciliations on the donations made by Trade Kings.

“On 9th April, 2020, Trade Kings Group wrote to the Ministry of Health requesting to make a pledge towards the fight against the COVID-19 as part of its corporate social responsibility. The company made a pledge of K28 million through the Trade Kings Foundation. However, it was observed that there were no reconciliations by the Ministry of Health on the items that had been pledged, received and distributed. Further, there were no measures put in place to verify the cost of the pledges made by Trade Kings Foundations as at 31st July, 2020. In response, the controlling officer, Ministry of Health, stated that the donations from Trade Kings were in various forms and for various beneficiaries and that management would only account for what the Ministry directly received,” read the Report.