Saturday, February 02, 2013

Auditor general's report reveals irregularities at Brussels mission

Auditor general's report reveals irregularities at Brussel mission
By Ernest Chanda
Sat 02 Feb. 2013, 12:30 CAT

THE 2011 Auditor General's report has revealed that Zambia's mission in Brussels irregularly paid over KR56,000 (K56 million) education allowance to the first secretary for trade who had a child not in college.

According to Foreign Service Regulation and Terms and Conditions of Service, an officer whose child is in college/university and below the age of 21, shall be eligible to receive 50 per cent of the education allowance.

But the child in question was not in college when their parent or guardian was paid such education allowances.
The report further revealed that the then ambassador was irregularly paid full allowances of over KR6,000 (K6 million) for representation, entertainment and extra accreditation after extending their stay in Lusaka.

The then envoy to Brussels Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika had come to Lusaka for the Heads of Mission Conference, but after it ended, they decided to extend their stay for 10 days and got full allowances for those days.

And in September 2010, the same office irregularly paid over KR19,000 (K19 million) cost of living allowances to a defence attaché whom it had accommodated at a hotel for 40 days.
And the London mission recorded unsupported payments of over KR1 million (K1 billion) in form of wages and overtime allowances.

Acquittal or payment sheets did not support the payments, which were made to locally engaged staff.
The London office also engaged three local staff without written contracts and paid them over KR142,000 (K142 million), contrary to Foreign Service Regulations.

The mission further recorded wasteful expenditure on senior government officials traveling on business class.

According to regulations, senior government officials travelling on business class are entitled to use the business class lounge facilities provided by the respective airlines at the airports they are transiting through.

"It was, however, observed that various officials travelling to or transiting through London were foregoing these facilities and were instead demanding VIP services which were attracting a charge of British Pounds 400 (about KR33,000 or K33 million) per person. To this end, during the period from March 2010 to December 2011, the mission had spent amounts totalling K218, 242,172 (British Pounds 31,003)," stated the Auditor General's report.

"In this regard, the expenditure of K218,242,172 (British Pounds 31,003) on service charges was wasteful in view of the fact that officials were not using the business class lounge facilities provided without extra charge by the airlines as part of the business class package and were instead opting for expensive VIP facilities."

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