THE contract signed between the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) and KPMG indicates that the commission was expected to pay about K800 million before the three-week audit of the commission was concluded.
The details are contained on page (4) of the contract signed by Essau Chulu and Joseph Jalasi on behalf of ECZ while Hastings Mtine signed on behalf of KPMG, as a senior partner in the firm.
The contract states that 40 per cent of the total amount that was agreed upon – which was K708 million in addition to value-added tax (VAT) at 16 per cent – was due to be paid at the start of the exercise while 20 per cent was to be paid three weeks later, which was the duration of the work.
The other 20 per cent should have been paid upon presentation of a draft report and the final 20 per cent upon presentation of the final report.
The ECZ commissioners signed the documents on November 4, 2010 but according to minutes of a meeting of December 31, 2010 attended by five officials from KPMG and seven from ECZ, director of the elections body, Dan Kalale advised that his team was not prepared for the meeting and promised to get back to the audit firm later.
While the letter of engagement delivered to Mr Kalale by former ECZ chairperson Florence Mumba indicated that KPMG officials would report to Mr Kalale throughout the audit period, Ms Justice Mumba, in her letter dated October 15, 2010, informed the firm that the final report should only be addressed to her.
However, a letter authored by Secretary to the Treasury Likolo Ndalamei to Mr Kalale dated December 30, 2010, stated that the ECZ director was the only controlling officer for the commission, and urged him to submit audited books of accounts to the Ministry of Finance and National Planning.
The letter indicated that the responsibility was not to be delegated to any other officer.
“You should submit to this ministry, in accordance with the law in your own signature, audited appropriated accounts in respect of each head of expenditure for which you are responsible, for incorporation in the financial report.
“This responsibility may not be delegated to any other officer,” Mr Ndalamei’s letter to Mr Kalale reads in part.
The secretary to the treasury formally writes controlling officers after the presentation of the national Budget every year, reminding them of their responsibility to manage their respective allocations in line with the Public Finance Act Section 7 (3) and financial regulation number five.
“As controlling officers, you are the chief accounting officer for your institutions,” Mr Ndalamei said in the letter.
Copies of special imprest statements are supposed to be sent to the office of the secretary to the treasury and copied to the auditor general’s office.
One of the signatories, Mr Justice Chulu, in an interview said he was unable to comment on the matter preferring to say something during the week since he had a family engagement.
In his memorandum to Ms Justice Mumba and commission members dated November 9, 2010, Mr Kalale advised that for ECZ’s power under Section 15 of the ECZ Act of 1996 to engage consultants up to the amount of K10 billion, the provision should be read with other laws as advised by the auditor general in her letter dated October 8, 2010.
He cited part 10 of the Constitution and the Public Procurement Act which state that even if such provisions existed, the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) should be informed in line with the ZPPA Act number 12 of 2008.
“Therefore, the appointment must be subject to tender laws and regulations,” Mr Kalale stated.
KPMG, in its letter of October 26, 2010 stated that it had accepted the terms of reference drawn by Ms Justice Mumba which stipulated that the firm should compile financial irregularities at ECZ ranging from impest retirement and adherence to internal audit guidelines.
Ms Justice Mumba quit her position on Thursday last week following a four-day work stoppage by workers demanding her resignation after revelations that she allegedly facilitated the single-sourcing of KPMG to conduct a three-week internal audit at K1 billion.
The allegation was strengthened by a letter written by Ms Chifungula dated November 9, 2010 describing the contract as irregular and in contravention of the Public Audit Act of 1980, the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia and the Public Finance Act number 15 of 2004.
And Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Director-General Godfrey Kayukwa yesterday told the parliamentary committee on legal affairs, governance, human rights and gender matters that the commission had started investigations into allegations of corruption at the ECZ.
Appearing before the committee, Mr Kayukwa said he had authorised an investigation into reports of corruption at the elections body.
He said the commission had received a report of corruption from the former ECZ chairperson Justice Mumba, tendered through the commission’s secretary Erick Kamwe, and one from former director Dan Kalale.
Justice Mumba was demanding that a thorough investigation be conducted at the commission to include all employment contracts, while Mr Kalale registered a complaint of flouted tender procedure at the institution.
“We are investigating allegations of corruption at the ECZ based on information released by former chairperson Justice Florence Mumba through Erick Kamwe as well as the other report from Dan Kalale,” Mr Kayukwa said.
And later in an interview, Mr Kayukwa said investigations into the alleged cases of corruption at the commission were in the preliminary stages and the ACC was gathering more information on the two complaints.
He said the commission intended to complete the investigations before this year’s elections because the image of the commission had been cast into doubt.
“We are working hard so that we can have credible elections. We want to make the findings of our investigations public before the next elections,” he said.
And ECZ spokesperson Cris Akufuna has said the confusion that rocked the commission will not affect preparations for the March 3 Mporokoso parliamentary by-election.
Speaking in an interview in Lusaka yesterday, Mr Akufuna said representatives of the 16 political parties that attended the January 28, 2011 meeting were assured that the by-election would be held as earlier planned.
He said ECZ would today brief officers mandated to oversee the by-election.
The Mporokoso seat fell vacant following the resignation from the MMD of area member of Parliament Maynard Misapa after President Rupiah Banda sacked him as Sports deputy minister.
Meanwhile, acting ECZ chairperson Pricilla Isaacs has said the Ministry of Finance and National Planning has assured the commission that funds are available for payment of outstanding arrears to mobile voter registration officers.
Submitting to the parliamentary committee on legal affairs, governance, human rights and gender matters yesterday, Ms Isaacs said the commission had initially received adequate funding at the commencement of the mobile voter registration exercise but that funding to the institution had been irregular.
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