The Public Service Management Division has suspended 10 accounts officers from Ministry of Transport and Communication following an audit report that unearthed mismanagement of about K13.14 million under Government Communication Flight Department.
The Government Communication Flight is a department under Ministry of Transport and Communication that government sources say receives millions of public funds.
The department, according to a senior government source, is supposed to run a flight for the government including for the Presidency but that such flight does not exist.
The source named those placed on suspension as Bruce Kabeli an accounts assistant, Nkeya Masando, assistant accountant; Victor Siuluta, assistant accountant; Miriam Kulwelwa, assistant accountant; Frank Sakala, assistant accountant; Douglas Hakayobe, internal auditor; Sylvester Shimbeza, inspector; Isaac Kumwenda, the accountant; Justine Chanda assistant accountant; and Gilbert Nkhoma, a revenue officer.
“These were suspended two weeks ago. They want to keep this secret but what annoyed people in the ministry is that money has continued to leave the department,” the source said on condition of anonymity. The source also said there was massive abuse of funds from the Radar account maintained at City Bank.
“The radar does not exist but it continues to receive money. It is the same radar that saw Dora Siliya prosecuted. I tell you there is massive stealing in government. During the Rupiah Banda reign, I even think there was no corruption, the officials, yes they could cut deals but with this government, it’s from top to the lowest, and we can’t have a country like that,” said the source.
Transport minister Brian Mushimba said he was aware of the suspensions but did not have the numbers involved.
“I am aware that there were some things out of the Auditor General’s Report that was being addressed to the Ministry, I am aware at that level,” Mushimba said.
Reminded that it was an internal audit report, Mushimba said: “Yes, from Auditor General’s report, we also have internal audit reports, it’s all audits and it’s part of the audits that we do. There were certain things that we picked up that were not good and I am aware that there’s administrative processes taking place to address those. I don’t have the numbers like how many have been suspended or how many are being disciplined or what but I have received a report that there was some type of audit that was triggered and certain and certain administrative processed are happening. My PS would be in a better position to speak to this. At a policy level, those matters, I don’t deal with them.”
But Lungu when contacted said: “I need to get more facts, I don’t speculate when talking, I like talking to the truth.”
Engineer Lungu earlier indicate he could not confirm such report and that he needed to find out from his staff.
Told that the minister had confirmed, Lungu said: “I like talking about things that are factual. Unless I confirm with my HR then I can confirm to you,” said Lungu.
And Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba has asked Lungu to furnish his office with responses to issues raised in the audit report on the Government Communication Flight operations.
“My office is in receipt of a report prepared by the senior Internal Auditor at the Ministry of Transport and Communication regarding Systems and Operations Audit of 2018. Analysis of the report shows the following weaknesses contrary to law, financial regulations and conditions of service: Thirty-Four persons occupied positions which were not on the authorized establishment totaling K1,346,512.61,” Yamba said.