Auditor general reveals funds abuse in embassies

One Zambian Embassy

The Zambian Embassy in Washington in the United States of America has misused funds through delayed banking of revenue, irregular payment of Foreign Service allowances, unretired imprest, unaccounted for stores and unaccounted fuel funds among others.

This has been revealed in the Auditor General’s (AG) report for the financial year ended 2008, which also revealed massive misappropriation of public funds by other Zambian foreign missions.

The delays in banking revenue amounted to about to K1.15 billion for the period ranging from two to 88 days.

In unretired imprest, the mission paid advances totaling to K149.1 million involving 44 transactions, which were issued to 12 officers during the period from January 2007 to December 2008.

This imprest was not retired as at August 2009.

For unaccounted for stores, the mission is said to have no receipts and disposal details for assorted items costing K84.8 million and amounts totaling to over K103.9 million were paid to BP AMOCO for the procurement of fuel for the mission vehicles during the period under review.

At Gaborone mission in Botswana, the AG’s report reveals that a total of K3.1 billion was captured as expenditure resulting in a variance of K993.5million between the funding and expenditure of the mission.

A comparison of revenue returns at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters and those maintained at the mission revealed variances of K173.8 million in 2007 and
K8.2 million in 2008.

Inonge Lewanika is Zambia's ambassador to USA.

The report has further revealed that at the mission in Abuja, a total of K54.9 million was collected from the period January to December 2008 as revenue for issuing Visas instead of the K90. 1million, therefore resulting into an under collection of revenue by K35.2 million.
This was because the mission continued to issue visas at the old rate despite the Immigration Department visa fees been increased from US$30 and US$50 for single and multiple entry visas to US$80 and US$160 respectively.
The increase was with effect from 26th January 2008.

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