ROAD Development Agency (RDA) board chairperson Samuel Mukupa says he is surprised that the Auditor General’s Office has not been auditing the Agency.

But Mukupa has assured the auditors that there has been no overpricing of road projects.

Commenting on Auditor General Dr Dick Sichembe’s letter to RDA in which he informed them that his office would be conducting an audit of the construction of roads projects for the period January 1, 2017 to August 31, 2021, Mukupa said the audit was the best way to go.

He wondered where the Auditor General had been since 2017.

“That is the only logical way of dealing with a public institution. The Auditor General’s work is to audit. And I was a bit surprised that they haven’t been auditing. There is no government institution that runs without audits both internal and external. All corporate bodies conform to those standards. Even for us, as a board, we don’t rely only on our internal audit systems, we also bring into effect external audits so that when they give you an audit statement, it is unqualified and you cannot qualify a statement if it is not audited, both internally and externally that is the way it works,” Mukupa said.

“Auditing is a hallmark of all the corporations, how else would you operate if you can’t be audited? Auditing is very critical. And I will be surprised if they say that from 2017, four years ago, where was the Auditor General? But I would want them to speed up. And in all these matters, the records are very clear. If you ask me, this is the best way to go.”

And Mukupa said auditing should both be internal and external.

“For me, an audit is very welcome and my view is that it should not just be internal audits, let it be external audits. Because our institutional audits are answerable to the Auditor General, that is internal. What would be even better, would be to let them also audit all the statements that have been made because you cannot proceed from one financial year to the other without a financial statement, that is a regulation. My view is that they don’t even need to announce that ‘we are going to audit’ they just move in because that is their function. They don’t need to announce it to the world. After auditing, then they make their findings known,” he said.

Mukupa, however, said there had been no overpricing of roads.

He added that to the contrary, there had been a reduction in the monies up to a point where roads which were supposed to be procured for tarmac had been relegated to gravel roads.

“From 2016, coming all the way up to this time, we have been scaling down. Even the roads that are supposed to have gone on tarmacs are now on gravel. It is because the resource envelope has not been able to deal with this. Yes, a lot of roads were procured between 2011 and 2014, 2015 and 2016, which roads up to now, the contractors are still there but what I know over this period, we have been scaling down so that at least roads could be motorable. But going with tarmac roads has been a nightmare financially,” said Mukupa.

“I suppose you even know that we could not proceed with the Ndola- Lusaka dual carriage because of the finances. So quite honestly, there has been no overpricing. There has been on the contrary reduction in the monies up to a point where roads which were supposed to be procured for tarmac have been relegated to gravel roads.”