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Sosten Gwengwe blames laxity on National Registration Bureau payout

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Finance Minister Sosten Gwengwe has described the Treasury’s disbursement of K800 million to the National Registration Bureau (NRB), which was purportedly made by mistake, as gross incompetence and negligence.

He has further said investigations would be instituted to establish how that mistake was made.

On Monday, The Daily Times indicated that, in 2020, Treasury officials sent funds to the bureau by mistake.

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On Monday, however, Gwengwe argued that there were strong control measures that could not let through such mistakes.

“I would tell you that, from what I have seen in the system, mechanisms are there and the controls are very strong.

“But, sometimes, there is this thing called human error which can originate from negligence, which can originate from somebody else just willing not to do their job,” Gwengwe said.

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He, however, said the system could not be faulted and that, as such, there would be no way for an individual to claim to have paid erroneously money amounting to K800 million because that is “gross incompetence and gross negligence”.

“We cannot blame systems; we can blame the individuals for not caring enough in doing their job,” he said.

The minister added that such individuals may want to benefit from such payments.

The mistake was revealed when Ministry of Homeland Security officials appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (Pac) of Parliament.

Pac Chairperson Shadric Namalomba said committee members were not amused that the Treasury could remit huge amounts of money by mistake.

NRB Director Mphatso Sambo said the incident happened in April 2020 when NRB was funded with K800 million that was not credited to the ministry’s bank account.

“The Treasury advised that the second K800 million was by error and NRB cancelled the payments that were processed using these funds,” Sambo said.

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