The Government, through the Civil Service Commission, has dismissed twelve  accounting and one  operations staff who were involved in various offences involving public funds. The dismissed officials, mostly from the accounting cadre, are from Ministry of General Education, Ministry of Commerce Trade and Industry, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Provincial Administration – Lusaka Province. Under the Ministry of Education, Mr. Chizaso Thole, a Senior Accountant, Mr. Eliya Mwale, Accountant, Mr. Lazarous Chanda, Assistant Accountant and Ms. Ivy Sibajene, Accounts Assistant, have been dismissed in accordance with section 21 (a)(v) of the disciplinary code and procedures for handling offences in the public service. Mr. Moses Thole, Accounts Assistant, under Ministry of Commerce Trade and Industry, has been dismissed, while Mr. Rodgers Mwanza, a Senior Accountant, and Mr. Lukanda Matambo, an Accounts Assistant, were both dismissed from the civil service in December, 2017, for similar offences under the same Ministry. Two  officers from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have been dismissed. These are, Mr. Noel Mulopa, an Assistant Director – Operations, and Mr. Lawrence Phiri an Accountant. Under the Provincial Administration – Lusaka Province, four  officials have been dismissed. These are, Ms. Grace Zimba, a Principal Accountant, Mr. Psela Banda, an Accountant, Ms. Nzewa Chumbu, an Accounts Assistant, and Mr. Gideon Zulu, an Accounts Assistant. The Government’s commitment to transparency and accountability in the utilisation of public resources through implementation of Public Financial Management Reforms is bearing substantial fruit – especially after the enactment of the Public Financial Management Act, 2018. The funds misappropriated by the dismissed officials will be recovered from their terminal and pension benefits. In addition, the due process of the law will also be followed to the latter in reaching conclusive positions in accordance with the Public Financial Management Act, 2018. The Public Financial Management Act, 2018, is now the principal act on public financial management matters. Since its coming into force, the Act has helped to facilitate easy enforcement of regulations; offered clear guidance on management of financial reforms; and, stipulated offences and penalties related to public resources in both local and central government. The Public Financial Management Act, 2018, is also embedded with provisions that have now operationalized the IFMIS and The Treasury Single Account in law. Upon the instruction of The Republican President Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, and on the guidance of the Minister of Finance, an Internal Audit Oversight Committee has been constituted whose mandate is to make decisions on internal audit reports from Ministries, Provinces and Other Controlling Bodies, and to analyse and give guidance on management reports assigned to respective government institutions by the Auditor General in order to forestall adverse reports in future audits. The Government of Zambia Internal Audit Oversight Committee is Chaired by the Secretary to the Cabinet and also comprises the Secretary to the Treasury; Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet [Administration]; Controller of Internal Audit – Ministry of Finance; Accountant General – Ministry of Finance; Permanent Secretary [Public Service Management Division – Cabinet Office]; and, Chairpersons of Civil/Public/Teaching/Local Government/Police & Prisons Service Commissions. Following the upgrading of the Office Controller of Internal Audit to the level of Permanent Secretary by the President, the Ministry of Finance is in the process of strengthening the cohesion and functionality of Audit Committees in Ministries, Provinces and Other Controlling Bodies. The Ministry is also in the process of developing a Risk Management Framework to ensure that, going forward, we achieve a significant reduction and ultimately, elimination of infringements related to the handling; storage; care; and, utilisation of public resources. We take this opportunity to clarify that a media report stating that over K453, 998 went missing at the Ministry of Finance as a result of the crash of the Integrated Financial Management Information System [IFMIS], is a mix-up. The funds in question relate to the Zambia Bureau of Standards and the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission [CCPC] under the Ministry of Commerce Trade and Industry, which were fraudulently paid to an individual for the year ending 31st December, 2017. The IFMIS, an automated and integrated information technology platform aimed at improving the acquisition, allocation, utilisation and conservation of public financial resources, developed operational dysfunction in January 2018, and was restored in some sites by March, 2018, and following its re-installation in all the configured sites [Ministries and Provinces], became fully operational by the end May, 2018. The Controller of Internal Audit, an office under the Ministry of Finance which is in charge of internal financial controls in all Ministries, Provinces and Other Controlling Bodies, is currently undertaking a post IFMIS RE-INSTALLATION AUDIT for which a report will be produced once the exercise is completed. Only then, will we know whether there has been any infringement of the provisions of the Public Financial Management Act, 2018, in handling financial transactions during the period when the system was in an unusable state. Concerning the K453, 998 that is reported to have been paid to an individual instead of Zambia Bureau of Standards and the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, we wish to clarify that, the IFMIS is a government wide platform at Ministry of Finance but operated in other Line Ministries and Provinces. One of its most important features is an in-built audit trail configuration. It is this audit-trail configuration which caused the Controller of Internal Audit to trace the suspicious transaction and raise the same in a report shared with the Office of the Auditor General. When the matter was brought to the attention of the Ministry of Commerce Trade and Industry, under which Zambia Bureau of Standards and the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission fall, the leadership of that Ministry acted swiftly and dismissed two individuals who were involved in the fraudulent transaction. Mr. RODGERS MWANZA, a Senior Accountant, and Mr. LUKANDA MATAMBO, an Accounts Assistant, were both working under the Ministry of Commerce Trade and Industry at the time they committed the infringement of law on public finance, and were dismissed from the public service in December, 2017. The case is now under investigation of law enforcement agencies and the due process of the law will be followed to the latter in reaching a conclusive end on the matter. The Ministry of Finance also wishes to confirm that THE REPORT OF THE AUDITOR GENERAL ON THE ACCOUNTS OF THE REPUBLIC FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31st DECEMBER, 2017, has been received. The Minister of Finance, Margaret Mwanakatwe, has since instructed the Secretary to the Treasury, Fredson Yamba, to ensure that the report is studied thoroughly and an action taken report prepared before the next Joint Financial Governance Forum for Ministers and Controlling Officers, scheduled for December, 2018.
For and on behalf of MINISTRY OF FINANCE