Friday, June 29, 2012

No records on Barotse Native Authority treasury - Scott

No records on Barotse Native Authority treasury - Scott
By Mwala Kalaluka and Mukosha Funga
Fri 29 June 2012, 13:23 CAT

THE government says it has no records indicating how much money in British pounds was held in the Barotse Native Authority treasury and later transferred to the government treasury at Independence in 1964. And Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini says he will consistently deflect point of orders that are not compelling or urgent.

During questions for oral answer in the House on Wednesday, Luena ADD member of parliament Mwambwa Imenda asked the Minister of Finance and National Planning to respond to this issue. Imenda also wanted to know how much money was held in the treasuries of other native authorities province by province.

Responding to the question, Vice-President Dr Guy Scott said the government's past and present records do not contain the information requested by Imenda.

"We are making efforts to obtain information from other government institutions such as the National Archives," Vice-President Scott said.

Kalabo Central UPND member of parliament Chinga Miyutu in a follow-up question asked how possible it was that such information could not be found by the current government and wondered whether governments had not been functioning since 1964.

In response, Vice-President Scott said: "There seems to be two distinct problems. Information is not kept indefinitely or forever. A few years is all that records are kept in government institutions. I will personally check for the answer to this because I am interested in it."

And ruling on a point of order raised by Mazabuka UPND member of parliament Garry Nkombo concerning a story from a newspaper whose name he did not mention, Speaker Matibini said if such point of orders were not deflected, there would be no end to the problem.

Nkombo wanted to know whether the government was in order to keep quiet in view of revelations by a newspaper that he laid on the table of the House without mentioning its name, about an oil scandal about to explode.

"Point of orders of this nature will be consistently deflected in this fashion. I will only permit them when they are compelling and urgent.

Unless the matter is extremely compelling, I will not respond to these point of orders in the fashion anticipated by those who raise them," Speaker Matibini said.

Meanwhile, Public Accounts Committee chairperson Vincent Mwale says there were clear cases of theft in the report of the Auditor General for 2009 on the accounts of parastatal bodies.

Presenting the committee's report to the House on Wednesday, Mwale, who is also Chipangali MMD member of parliament, said PAC had recommended that government investigative wings move in and probe the cited cases of theft and misappropriation.

He said there were sixteen public institutions that had been cited in the report and that out of this, there were those like the Local Authority Superannuation Fund which are experiencing declining membership.

Mwale said even the Public Service Pensions Fund was also faced with the same predicament.

He also said the State Lotteries Board was also another institution that was almost insolvent to a point that it had even failed to employ a chief executive officer.

Mwale said there was also another issue of high staff-related costs at Zesco, which were occurring at a time when the company was operating without an approved staff establishment.

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