Caritas Zambia has expressed great concern on the current revelations by the Auditor General where millions of public funds were either misused or pocketed without following laid down financial regulations.
They have wondered how controlling Officers from the Ministries involved can allow, 115,350,860 kwacha of irregular payments, 251,523,804 kwacha of undelivered goods, 12,659,892 kwacha unretired accountable Imprest and 558,449 kwacha unaccounted funds.
Caritas said that this is the highest financial indiscipline that should not be tolerated by any tax payer in Zambia.
Public Servants and Policy makers are stewards of Zambia’s Public resources and so abrogation of financial laws with impunity as stated by the 2015 Auditor General’s report, resulting in revenue loss and financial misuse, demands action not words of reprimand.
In addition to this sad state of affairs, there is the question of money laundering and other financial crimes.
Not too long ago, the Financial Intelligence Centre reported about 3 billion United States dollars as having been laundered or stolen from the economy.
This really compounds the problem and government must take stronger measures in protecting public finances in Zambia.
This continued mis-management of public resource if not curtailed will undermine the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals and will continue to damage the social and economic fabric of our society.
At the same time, the continued diversion of funds will continue affecting the provision of key services such as health, education and developmental projects.
Caritas hopes the Patriotic Front government stands on the principles that civil servants are appointed on merit through open competition rather than patronage, with core value of Integrity, Honesty, Objectivity and Impartiality (including political impartiality).
They expect that the government institute disciplinary measures and take action on the revelations of the Auditor General report.
We also entreat that the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committees hold government to account for its actions and intentions with regards to the AG revelations.
Parliament should re-assess its oversight mechanism and ensure that its recommendations are implemented.
Most importantly, those officers responsible for loss of public resources should be held to account for their omissions or commissions.
Political patronage should not be allowed to provide impunity to those responsible for loss of public funds.