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Parliament summons chief secretary

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Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (Pac) has summoned Chief Secretary to the government, Lloyd Muhara, after noting that most government ministries, departments and agencies were abusing public money.

Pac Chairman, Alekeni Menyani, said the committee has set aside two days to hear from Muhara on what measures Capital Hill is taking to ensure that civil servants work according to laid down financial procedures.

“We will have a full session with the Chief Secretary for two days. We want the government to tell us the measures it is putting in place to ensure systems are working in government,” he said.

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Menyani said this after Pac members expressed concern after an audit report revealed that Judiciary bought a bulk of fuel worth K85, 612, 269 which has not been accounted for.

Judiciary controlling officer Agnes Patemba, however, explained during the Wednesday meeting that the fuel was distributed to judges by loading it into their official cards.

“Since this fuel is part of the judges’ entitlements, management assumed that there was no need to maintain a register of distribution of the fuel,” she said.

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Dowa West MP Alexander Kusamba Dzonzi, told the meeting that there are indications that 40 per cent of the national budget is wasted because it is always released in the last month of the financial year.

Dzonzi, a member of Pac, said this after officials from Judiciary said the organisation misallocated over K7 million because Treasury gave Judiciary one week to spend money in time for closure of the financial year.

Dzonzi said the trend is common in most of government ministries, departments and agencies.

“If you follow the trend, there is always erratic funding within the year. The government releases 60 per cent of the funding within the 11 months and 40 per cent is always released in June, the last month of the financial year and the result is that the money is misused and abused because a lot of money is released at once,” he said.

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