The Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) has been rocked with corruption and abuse of office where Director and Chief Executive Officer Zindaba Soko and scores of fellow PF cadres have continued to violate management procedures and treasury regulations.
Zambians have been crying about increasing corruption in the Patriotic Front (PF) government but the RTSA has taken it to another level, not wanting to be outdone in the plunder of public resources.
The corruption in RTSA started the day Soko was taken to RTSA because he went to that office hungry and poor like many other PF cadres in public offices.
We do not expect Soko to be fired because everyone in PF is stealing where ever there is anything to lat hands on and these people are being allowed to get away with their crimes.
We have done enough investigations and gathered evidence of the wrong doings and rot going on at RTSA. We shall publish a series of these scandals for the public to make their judgement. How can road accidents end when the people employed to safeguard our roads are busy stealing like Edgar Lungu and taking girlfriends for holidays in expensive places using stolen money?
The following are some of the scandals, thefts, mismanagement and anti-treasury authority practices Soko and his fellow thieves have done at RTSA.
We challenge Zindaba Soko and anyone at RTSA or in government to prove that these scandals have not been done in the agency.
In 2016, Zindaba Soko violated section 3.6 of the RTSA conditions of service when he personally recruited an unqualified, incompetent and inexperienced PF cadre from Intercity Bus Terminus to be the human resource manager. This decision by Soko created a lot of tension between the incompetent cadre and those who were poised to be appointed within the RTSA. The incompetent human resource officer was later found to be drawing two salaries, one from RTSA and another from the ministry of transport and communication having received K19, 559 in gross pay.
The lack of transparency and accountability has been perpetuated by Soko who even threatens some board members with removal from the board whenever they try to intervene in his lawlessness.
Zindaba Soko has been employing PF cadres who do not meet the qualifications for the positions they occupy, contrary to the job descriptions of the agency. Others do not even meet the required age threshold. Some RTSA cashiers, who are Soko’s girlfriends, relatives and friends or somehow connected to his cohorts were employed without being interviewed. These include Chrispine Simamba, (cashier), Loveness Kaunda (cashier), Brian Katongo (cashier), Kenneth Simumba (general worker) and Michael Kafusha (general worker).
In 2016, Zindaba Soko ignored treasury regulations when he changed the RTSA management structure and recruited over 20 fellow PF cadres. This was contrary to the RTSA board recommendations of December 19, 2014. The illegal recruitment has made RTSA to incur a huge financial burden and a lot of payroll costs because it is not supported by the treasury.
Zindaba Soko also illegally changed the salary grades for seven fellow Heads of department, most of whom are known PF cadres. He elevated them to the salary scale of deputy director. This means that RTSA now has seven deputy directors. This is contrary to the RTSA Act No. 11 of 2002 that only provides for two deputy directors in the ranks of the agency. This was done without treasury authority and board recommendations.
The seven heads of departments are procurement, human resource, head of finance, internal audits, head of ICT, head of legal department and head of research and statistics. Their elevation in salary scale resulted in the payroll being bloated with K1, 260, 000. 00 and has affected the administrative budget. Efforts by the Office of the Auditor General and Ministry of Transport and Communications to get an explanation from Zindaba Soko and his fellow PF thieves at the agency have failed because Soko claims to be so connected in the PF government.
In another nauseating and rotten scandal, Zindaba Soko had failed to remit K743, 321, 79, which are proceeds from the sale of personal to holder motor vehicles of employees whose contracts had ended. The said funds have never been recovered but a paper trail shows that Soko and his cohorts have stolen this money through fake trips and other allowances. This is contrary to the public finance Act of 2004 section 29(3) which requires that such funds must be deposited in government account 99.
Zindaba Soko also directed the finance department not to remit over K61, 017, 510.37 to the Zambia Revenue Authority. This money was deducted from employee salaries, leave days and gratuity from 2012 to 2016 but the ZRA is yet to receive this money.
The RTSA has no inter controls that segregate the duties of revenue staff. These employees have no specific roles in their department and this has been tolerated by Soko and his team because it is easier for them to steal money.
So far, over 97 RTSA vehicles have been involved in road traffic accidents because they were being driven by incompetent PF cadres posing as Road Traffic Officers. Some of the vehicles have no insurance and some drivers involved in the accidents have not been charged because they are PF cadres. It has been hard for the public to notice the RTSA utility vehicles in accidents because the majority of them have no company logos, contrary to the transport policy.