NGOCC maintains that K1.5 b given to Sata’s wife illegal, as speaker seeks clarification

NGOCC maintains that K1.5 b given to Sata’s wife illegal, as speaker seeks clarification

The Non-Governmental Organisations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) has questioned where the PF government derived the authority to allocate K1.5 billion to the first lady’s office in this year’s budget.

The NGOCC, which is largely a women’s organisation said the first lady’s office was not a constitutional office hence the allocation was illegal. See attached statement.

Speaker of National Assembly Patrick Matibini Tuesday ordered the PF government through the Vice-president Guy Scott to give a comprehensive statement on how the money allocated to the first lady, Dr. Christine Kaseba-Sata will be used.

The ruling by the Speaker followed a point of order from UPND Kalomo MP who wanted to get a further explanation on the first-lady’s budget line.

Muntanga’s point of order arose from the story carried in the government owned and but PF controlled Times of Zambia story of Friday, November 23, in which she was quoted as saying “The budget allocation is meant for members of staff who need to be paid salaries and also for fuel for the vehicles that we use. It’s not meant for my salary and we are thankful that Government has recognised us,” she said

Muntanga, who quoted the Times of Zambia story wondered whether the staff such as security, and travel costs such as allowances and vehicles were not already covered under State House or Cabinet Office.

He said as far as he was concerned, the people working in the first lady’s office are already civil servants covered under various budget provisions such as State House and Cabinet Office and wondered which other staff will be paid under her none existent office as referred to in the story.

Meanwhile, President Michael Sata’s ‘voice mail’ George Chellah Tuesday afternoon diverted from merely delivering messages for Sata as he issued a statement defending Sata’s wife.

In the statement, Chellar said “you may wish to note that these funds are used for the payment of security staff, transportation and other logistics that are necessary for the effective operation of the First Lady in undertaking assignments that are of a formal nature on behalf of His Excellency, Mr. Michael Chilufya Sata, President of the Republic of Zambia and the state in general”.

But people very familiar with State House operations have told the Watchdog that security costs and staff under first lady are already catered for and paid under general revenue so this would be paying twice for the same costs. The vehicles used by the first lady are from State House fleet.

In less than six months of becoming president, Sata increased his salary by more than 100 per cent. In less than one year of being president, Sata started constructing his retirement house.

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