Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba’s law firm was paid K200 million when it was not on the list of beneficiaries, the Parliamentary Accounts Committee has heard.
The committee chaired by deputy PAC chairperson Felix Mutati heard that Wynter Kabimba and Company received K200 million from the Ministry of Justice when it was not on the list of companies to be paid.
The action raised huge debate as to why the Ministry decided to pay the minister’s law firm when it was not on the list, leaving out other companies which were on the long queue.
Making submissions, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry Joseph Akafumba, who tried to defend the inclusion of Kabimba’s company for payments, was curtailed when Auditor General Anna Chifungula interjected saying that it was not correct for him to state that there was no one who was disadvantaged when other people were still waiting for payment.
And over K105 billion in the Ministry of Justice has been misappropriated, the Parliamentary Accounts Committee has heard.
The committee also heard that there was about K252 million unretired imprest and monies paid out wrong government officials who were not entitled.
Akafumba revealed that over 28 government workers who were not entitled to meal allowances drew allowances illegally.
“Chair it is regrettable that unretired imprest and payments amounting to 252 million Kwacha was recorded the year ending December, 2012. These were some of the serious irregularities recorded in the Ministry. Chair no imprest report was availed to me and my office for action involving 28 officers,” said Akafumba.
He said that there were also questionable payments of meal allowances which had led to the removal or transfer of the director of human resource and the principal accountant.
Akafumba also informed the committee that no action had been taken against officers who have misapplied and misappropriated the said funds.
“There was questionable meal allowances paid to officers who were not entitled by the human resource director and principal accountant who have since been transferred to other ministries and departments,” said Akafumba.
Akafumba was taken to task to explain why over K77 billion was misapplied on activities which were not approved.
He justified the misapplication of funds by blaming it on underfunding which led the ministry to misapply the money it had without seeking authority from the controlling officer.
However Mutati revealed that according to the Auditor General’s report, about K85 billion was also not accounted for.
And MMD Member of Parliament for Mafinga Catherine Namugala expressed sadness that Zambians had continued losing huge sums of money as a result of unprofessional conduct and thieving government officials.
Namugala said that it was sad that such activities had continued to take place in government, adding that the controlling officers must take stringent action such as reporting such matters to police for theft.
“There is no explanation from the controlling officer about why over K85 billion was unaccounted for. When I was going through this report it is sad to read about what is going on in the Ministry of Justice, a ministry which is supposed to lead by example in the prudent utilization of public funds prudently,” said Namugala.