SECRETARY to the Treasury Fredson Yamba has confirmed that Ministry of Health permanent secretary in charge of administration Kakulubelwa Mulalelo is no longer controlling officer and that she has been serving a one month suspension without pay.
Speaking when he appeared before the Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC), Monday, Yamba said Mulalelo was found wanting over some issues raised in the Auditor General’s 2019 report and the interim audit report on the utilisation of COVID-19 resources dated July 31, 2020.
He was speaking in response to Mkushi North PF member of parliament Doreen Mwape who wanted to find out whether the Secretary to the Treasury was doing anything to ensure that government resources were protected, citing a case in which the Ministry of Health entered into a contract without carrying out due diligence.
“Thank you very much Chair and thank you Honorable Mwape for that submission. I must mention that as treasury, we are indeed saddened by the revelation regarding some of the procurements at the Ministry of Health. I wish to inform this Honorable committee that in line with the provisions of the public finance management act number one of 2018, action has been taken against the controlling officer. Firstly, I wish to inform the house that the Secretary to the Cabinet did constitute the disciplinary committee so that we could listen to the explanatory and exculpatory statements by the controlling officers who were cited in the annual report of the Auditor General for the financial year ended 31st December 2019 and also the interim audit report on the utilisation of the COVID-19 resources dated 31st July 2020,” Yamba said.
“Chair, upon deliberations, the committee noted that the audit queries in the ministry bordered on financial misconduct in violation of the Public Finance Management Act and also contrary to undertaking of the controlling officer for zero audit queries as stated in the performance contract. Therefore Chair, we did recommend as a committee that the appointment of the controlling officer be revoked. Further, be suspended for one month without pay immediately. We asked the controlling officer to appear before the Public Accounts Committee to provide the responses to the committee even though her appointment as controlling officer has been revoked chair and be suspended from duties. The members of the ministerial evaluation again, we noted that there were serious irregularities in the evaluation process and we also made recommendation to the public service commission so that action can be taken against them, some even dismissal or even demoted. There was another issue Chair that is with regard to the officers who failed to recover irregular salaries and account for funds. We said also these be charged for negligence of duty and surcharged for loss as reported.”
He said Mulalelo was cited for 25 anomalies related to accounting irregularities.
“Chair, like indicated by the Accountant General, I chaired the committee in my capacity as Secretary to the Treasury and this comprised six other members of the committee. And amongst the controlling officer who appeared before the committee was the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Health. Chair, as a committee, we reviewed the audit report referred to and the explanatory report that was given and we sat from 11th November or 4th December and I did remind them with regard to their mandate including the PS health who was among those who attended the hearing and we came to the realisation, this is in public domain, that the controlling officer was cited for 25 anomalies related to accounting irregularities, payroll staff matters and what is mentioned here, procurement of goods and services and also infrastructure development, management of assets and stores,” said Yamba.