Msichili taken to task over financial irregularities in local authorities

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THE Public Accounts Committee (PAC) yesterday took task Local Government and Housing Permanent Secretary, Stanford Msichili over financial irregularities in local authorities throughout the country.
The committee heard that contrary to financial regulation number 31, out of K232, 935,111 released by the Treasury to the ministry of Local Government and Housing, K2, 735,524 in 23 local authorities was misapplied in 2012.
Committee chairperson who is Chipangali MMD Member of Parliament, Vincent Mwale also heard that K479, 951 processed at five local authorities was not availed for audit as payment vouchers were missing.
The affected councils were Milenge, Mufumbwe, Chavuma, Kalabo and Isoka.
The PAC also heard that payments totalling K3, 010,113 in 324 payments processed at 33 local authorities were not supported with relevant documents such as quotations, receipts, and local purchase orders.
Among the councils affected were Samfya, Nchelenge, Mwense, Milenge, Petauke, Nyimba, Zambezi, Mufumbwe, Solwezi, Kasama, Luwingu,
Mporokoso, Kalabo, Mongu, Livingstone, Monze, Kafue and Lusaka city council.
Amounts totaling K191, 647, received by three local authorities were not accounted for because the utilisation of the funds could not be ascertained due to lack of records.
The districts affected under unaccounted for funds were Samfya, Mpongwe and Monze councils.
Mr Msichili told the committee that most of the missing receipts and unaccounted for funds had since been accounted for but Mr Mwale and Choma central MP, Cornelius Mweetwa wondered why they were not presented at the time of audit.
The committee later heard that contrary to regulation number 96, imprest totaling K1,151,458 issued to 92 officers at 11 local authorities had not been retired as of January this year.
The councils affected were Mwense, Milenge, Zambezi, Mufumbwe, Kasempa, Kabwe, Kasama, Chilubi, Mporokoso, Kalabo and Chinsali.
The PAC also heard that items costing K1,579,843 comprising general stores of K1,371,477 and fuel K208,378 procured by 20 local authorities had no receipt and disposal details.
As a result, it was difficult to ascertain whether the goods paid for were actually received and used for the intended purpose.
Six local authorities processed amounts totaling K899, 796 in unapproved payments while 17 councils failed to remit statutory contributions totalling almost K20, 000,000.
Other irregularities heard by the committee were wasteful expenditure by Rufunsa council, uncredited funds, irregularities in payment of salaries and allowances and overpayment of settling allowance and over-payment of commutation of leave.

By CHARITY MOONGA-

Times of Zambia

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