FINANCE Minister Dr Bwalya Ng’andu says he does not know if PF paid the K4.7 million on behalf of ex-ministers who illegally stayed in office in 2016 directly to his ministry.
On Tuesday, PF secretary Davies Mwila claimed that the indebted former ministers had their entire K4.7 million bill paid by well-wishers.
He could not, however, reveal the identity of those who paid K4.7 million on behalf of ex-ministers.
Commenting on the status of the payment, whose deposit slip is meant to be made available as proof of payment, Dr Ng’andu disclosed that he did not know where the payments were made because he was currently on leave.
“I have not seen the papers, speak to the Permanent Secretary (Mukuli Chikuba), he will tell you if that is the position. I don’t know where they were paying, whether they were paying to the Ministry of Finance directly. Speak to the functionaries because I am on leave, and in any case, I don’t have these numbers with me. But speak to the PS, he will be able to tell you if that is the position,” said Dr Ng’andu said in an interview in Lusaka, Wednesday.
But when contacted, Finance Ministry Permanent Secretary Mukuli Chikuba referred this reporter to the Office of the Accountant General, saying he was also on leave.
However, a call to the Office of the Accountant General yielded nothing as Kennedy Musonda was equally reported to be out of office until next week.
Speaking when he featured on Hot FM’s Red Hot Breakfast Show in Lusaka, Tuesday, Mwila said he needed to seek permission from individuals who paid for the ex-ministers before disclosing their identities.
“The well-wishers are our members; there are about three, who offered to pay for the former ministers, specifically PF members. They are individuals who own companies. It is confidential as at now. We have just been given the deposit slips and that I think anyone who wants to enquire can go to the Ministry of Finance. Unless we ask the same individuals if it will be right to mention their names in public. It is a public issue, but I have to get permission from them. Once we get permission from them, once they authorise us, we will inform the public. We contribute as members of the party. They are well-wishers, they are loyal members of the party and they thought it fit that we pay for the former ministers. And we can’t say no. And some of us have already paid, we will start asking for a refund,” said Mwila.