FORMER minister of youth, sport and child development Emmanuel Mulenga on Wednesday surprisingly appeared as an uninvited witness at Parliament grounds, requesting to be admitted to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) so that he could defend himself on the allegations levelled against him involving youth empowerment programmes.
However, after spending minutes in the committee’s lobby, Mulenga was denied access to the PAC room and was told that he needed to formally write to the National Assembly to seek permission.
And in an interview, Mulenga said he had written to the Speaker, the Clerk, as well as the PAC chairperson requesting to appear before the committee but he did not receive any response.
“On the 4th of January 2022, I wrote a letter to the PAC chairperson requesting that I appear and give my side of the story. An officer, Mrs Nkumbula misled the committee by saying that the phase two Higer Bus programme was started by me. So I wrote to the chairperson attaching evidence that that was actually started even before I became Minister in 2018. There were meetings held and there are minutes to prove that this started before I became Minister. I wanted to put the record straight that Mrs Nkumbula was not removed unceremoniously because she was advising me otherwise,” Mulenga said.
“She was removed because she stole money from the Ministry. I have given the evidence to the chairman and the Speaker that she defrauded the Ministry with K715,000, purporting to have been travelling across the country when she was just sitting in the office. They diverted over K2 million which was meant for the strategic communication and gave themselves allowances which was against the concept of youth empowerment. This matter was brought before cabinet and disciplinary action was instituted. That is why the permanent secretary then Joe Kapembwa lost his job because of the same acts. Secondly, it is because they had inflated procurement prices in the purchase of wood mizers for the launch of the youth empowerment programme. The wood mizer was procured at K60,000 but a month later they inflated to K600,000.”
Mulenga said he had since written another letter to the clerk so that he could be accorded a chance to appear before PAC.
“I have written to the clerk and chairman today that I should be called and be heard. I am asking the chairman as well as the offices that be, that these people should substantiate their claim. Parliament is a place that works on evidence so that the decorum and etiquette of Parliament is maintained. I have written to the clerk and I have complained that I have been writing every time that my name is being dragged in the mud but Parliament is not getting back to me. They have not responded so that I can give the side of my story. So I am therefore calling upon the Speaker and the clerk of the National Assembly to accord me a chance to appear before PAC,” said Mulenga.