TRANSPARENCY International Zambia (TI-Z) executive director Maurice Nyambe says there is need for more clarity Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Kakulubelwa Mulalelo’s fate and what steps will be taken to ensure she is held accountable for all irregularities she has been cited for.

And Nyambe says he hopes Mulalelo’s suspension is the first step towards “cleaning the rot” at the Ministry of Health.

In response to a press query, Nyambe wondered what further action would be taken against Mulalelo.

“TI-Z has noted with interest the revelation by Secretary to the Treasury Mr Fredson Yamba that Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary for Administration Ms. Kakulubelwa Mulalelo is no longer controlling officer and has been serving a one-month suspension without pay. While we welcome the punitive action seemingly being taken against the PS over the financial irregularities she has been found culpable for, we are of the view that it is important to be very clear about what action is being taken in this regard. For instance, what will happen after the one-month suspension elapses? Has the PS been dismissed outrightly? Most importantly, what follow-up steps will be taken to make sure that the PS is held accountable for the irregularities she has been cited for? Has the matter been handed over to law enforcement agencies for possible prosecution? We believe all these are questions that need clarity,” Nyambe stated.

And Nyambe expressed hope that the suspension would be part of a wider exercise of “cleaning the rot” at the Ministry of Health.

“Beyond this, our hope is that the suspension of the PS is not an isolated act but part of a wider exercise of beginning to clean the rot that is deep-rooted at the Ministry of Health. In this regard, we reiterate our call for an independent investigation to be done into the Ministry of Health’s long-standing disregard of procurement and financial management guidelines and/or legislation, and into the circumstances that led to the Ministry allowing the distribution of unsafe health supplies to unsuspecting citizens. A nit-picking approach targeting one or two individuals will not be good enough to correct the wrongs at the Ministry. Rather, what is needed is a broad-based intervention that looks at the Ministry’s failures in their entirety in order to get to the bottom of the factors that have allowed those failures in the first place. TI-Z wishes the new Minister Dr Jonas Chanda all the best in this regard,” stated Nyambe.

On Monday, Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba told the Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) that Mulalelo was facing a one-month unpaid suspension and was recommended for possible dismissal given the glaring irregularities that were highlighted in the Auditor General’s report.