The Anti- Corruption Commission yesterday pulled back after announcing that it was going to hold a press conference to update the nation on its investigation around the Honeybee drug supply scandal and the Ministry of Health.
And former Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary in charge of administration Mulalelo Kakulubelwa yesterday failed to appear before the Commission.
According to a notice shared by the Commission, the briefing was scheduled to start at 14:30 hours, but never took off, leaving interested stakeholders in suspense.
“Kindly be informed that the ACC will be holding a press briefing on Investigations involving Ministry of Health and the Honeybee Case. Time: 14:30hrs. Venue: ACC Headquarters NOTE: In observing physical distancing, we advise that only Television Stations will be allowed to cover the event while other media shall be availed audio and print copies,” read the notice.
Asked to explain why the briefing was cancelled and if Kakulubelwa appeared for questioning, ACC public relations manager Timothy Moono said the briefing would be held next week, but declined to comment on Kakulubelwa’s appearance.
“Let us just talk about the briefing, it will be next week, it was postponed. I am not sure if it will be Tuesday or Wednesday. We shall be giving updates on the Commissions’ activities including investigations on Ministry of Health and so many other investigations that the Commission has been conducting,” said Moono.
Sources tell News Diggers that the Commission did not get clearance from State House to go ahead with the press conference.
“There was miscommunication on whether to hold it or not. Apart from State House clearance, there were other procedural issues which were not put in place. So it became difficult to go ahead and make certain announcements prematurely,” said the source.
Last month, Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba confirmed that 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 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.
Earlier this month, President Edgar Lungu fired Mulalelo, replacing her with Dr Kennedy Malama, who News Diggers sources say is also on the list of people whom the ACC is investigating.