Monday, August 05, 2013

(LUSAKATIMES) There were some corrupt activities at ZRL involving Clive Chirwa and some board members-Chikwanda
Time Posted: July 18, 2013 8:17 am

MINISTER of Finance Alexander Chikwanda has told Parliament that his ministry is pondering to submit findings of an audit conducted at the Zambia Railways Limited to law enforcement agencies for scrutiny.

Mr Chikwanda says a team of auditors sent to the Zambia Railways Limited has revealed that there are some corrupt activities allegedly involving former chief executive officer Clive Chirwa and some board members.

He was winding up debate on the report of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on the report of the Auditor General presented to the House by Chipangali member of Parliament (MP) Vincent Mwale (MMD) on Tuesday evening.

“We have taken appropriate steps, and in some cases we may even refer some of these issues to law enforcement wings…We benefited from the controller of internal audit who looked at Zambia Railways Limited and brought a report,” he said.

Mr Chikwanda said his ministry is reinforcing audit committees because they play an important role in the fight against corruption in parastatal organisations where the scourge is suspected to be taking place.

He said corruption in parastatal bodies and other organisations should be stopped because it is retrogressive.

“One way of getting our country to run better is for us to put our heads together, and where we see impropriety we should condemn it without any reservations,” he said.

Mr Chikwanda said Government is trying to make the offices of the Accountant-General and Controller of Internal Audit in his ministry more effective so that they can detect corruption.

“These offices are independent, and it is important that they should not be fused into each other…the office of Controller of Internal Audit can even watch over the activities of the Accountant-General,” he said.

Mr Chikwanda said because of its work, the PAC has instilled fear into some officers and forced them to do things properly for fear of being summoned to appear before it.

He urged the committee to be firm in executing its tasks, saying public resources should not be abused.

Moving the motion, Mr Mwale said PAC is concerned about financial abuse in government ministries and appealed to the Secretary to the Treasury to tighten regulation.

Monze Central MP Jack Mwiimbu (UPND) said people who abuse public funds should be taken to task and that PAC should be reformed to include other expertise such as law enforcement officers.

Lupososhi MP Chungu Bwalya (PF) said issues raised in the PAC report should be addressed, failure to which the country may continue grappling with them for a long time.

He said the office of Accountant-General should be turned into a constitutional office and that powers of internal controls should be vested in its function.

Katombola MP Derick Livune (UPND) said officers who misapply funds should be dismissed from their jobs to deter intending wrongdoers.

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