It’s criminal to refuse to be audited – Kafwaya


REPORTS that the Auditor General’s office has threatened to abandon auditing the Ministry of Agriculture following refusal by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry to avail audit documents is not only illegal but also unfortunate, Mutotwe Kafwaya has said.

Mr Kafwya, the Lunte Patriotic Front   Member of Parliament said this in parliament yesterday when he raised a matter urgent of public importance directed at the leader of government business in the house on the refusal by the Ministry of Agriculture Permanent Secretary.

He said Emeritus Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu has been apt in stating that the arrest of Dr Dick Sichembe, the Auditor General was meant to intimidate and blackmail him so that he could fail to expose the economic transgressions of the UPND government against Zambians.

He stated that Bloomberg had also reported on the arrest of Dr Sichembe and had linked the arraignment to the ongoing conversations around Zambias external debt restructuring.

“As a country, this is time to put a full stop to the nonsense and we should start doing sense. We must realise that both internal and external stakeholders have opened their eyes and ears wide on this salient matter and many others. I will remind you that Dr. Dick Sichembe is being blackmailed over PAC allowances for which the executive has arrested him and others. And some beneficiaries of these allowances are being protected by the same executive.”

“Now we have become aware that the executive has been refusing to give the Auditor General information on fertiliser procurement so that he could conclude his audit in line with his constitutional mandate. This is catastrophic for our nation,” Mr Kafwaya said.

He said it was the first time in the history of the country that a Permanent Secretary had refused to avail documents for audit by the Auditor General’s office.

Mr Kafwaya said it was sad that the Secretary to Cabinet and the Secretary to the Treasury ware aware about the refusal by Ministry of Agriculture Permanent Secretary Green Mbozi to avail documents for audits but that two had done nothing about it.

He said the action by Mr Mbozi would lead to Zambians to start wondering if the AG’s office would be able to produce a credible audit report in the period the UPND had been in government.

He said many people have raised concerns about the alleged corruption in the procurement of fertilizers by the new dawn administration and that an audit by the Auditor General was the only way Zambians could be given assurance that indeed there was no corruption.

Mr Kafwaya said the refusal to tender audit documents to the Office of the Auditor General was tantamount to denying the people of Zambia information on how their resources were being utilized by those in authority.

“It is unfortunate that under the new dawn government, it is now normal for a Permanent Secretary to deny the Auditor General information without consequence,” Mr Kafwaya said.

Mr Kafwaya said article 241(9) (1) of the constitution under which the Auditor General’s office draw its existence, and the public Audit Act specifies the conduct of the Auditor General.

He also said section 73 of the Public financial Management Act, of 2018, determines the power of the Auditor General in terms of access to systems documents and any information that the Auditor General may require in order to produce an audit reports.

Mr Kafwaya said the Auditor General was required to report his finding to the Republican President and the National Assembly on the same day but wondered how Dr Dick Sichembe was going to achieve that goal when some officers in government were undermining his authority.

He said it was utterly confounding that a Permanent Secretary could refuse to give the Auditor General information in blatant contravention of the law.

“Is it true that Joice Sundano the former Controller of Internal will be appointed Auditor General after the removal of Dr Dick Sichembe? If so then and even if not so, the executive may consider the legality of her PAC allowances, remember this is the same reason you want Dick out and jailed. Is it true that an entry level Auditor by the name of Theo Miyoba will be promoted to the position of Deputy Auditor General or Performance Director? If it is true, then consider the morale aspect of the office of the AG. Is the AG going to produce a credible audit report with PS’s refusing to give him documents which he needs for the audit exercise? Mr Kafwaya wondered.

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