By Nation Reporter
OVER 2000 Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Childhood Education officers accommodated in Government quarters had been irregularly receiving housing allowances amounting to nearly K9 million, the 2015 Auditor General’s report has revealed.
According to the report, Cabinet Office Circular No. B12 of 2012 stipulated that housing allowance should be paid to eligible employees through the payroll at the rate of 20% of monthly basic salary.
However, contrary to the Circular, 2,352 officers from the Ministry of Education-who were accommodated in Government quarters and therefore not eligible to receive housing allowance ─ were irregularly paid allowances amounting K8, 902,784.
Ministry of Education, Science and Vocational Training spokesperson Hilary Chipango failed to comment on the matter when contacted by Daily Nation.
However, Zambia National Teachers Union (ZNUT) public relations officer Joe Kasaka explained that government had been recovering the money it had mistakenly paid teachers by subtracting from their salaries.
Mr Kasaka said that the monies were mistakenly paid to the teachers because of some errors in the system.
“Government has put in place a recovery plan where they are slowly cutting the money from their salaries. They understand that it is not the fault of teachers but just a system error, where the money is mistakenly paid to the teachers,” he said.
The Auditor General’s report also revealed that they were irregular payments of responsibility allowances in the ministry.
The report points out that the collective agreement between Government and Secondary School Teachers Union of Zambia of 3rd April, 2013 stated that responsibility allowances should be paid based on recommendation by school head teachers and subsequent approval by District Education Board Secretary’s Office (DEBS), at the rate of 20% of monthly basic salary.
However, during the period under review, 100 teachers were paid responsibility allowances amounting to K373, 930 without obtaining authority from the DEBS Office.
During the same period, 22 officers were paid remote hardship allowances amounting to K244, 080 instead of being paid rural hardship allowance of K195, 264 resulting in an overpayment of K48, 816 which had not been recovered as of July this year.
The AG report also revealed that 34 employees not appearing in the staff establishment register had been paid over K1.5 million in salaries.