The Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) this week heard that the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry diverted K2.3 million to buy vehicles for ministers in the ministry.
This was when the Ministry of Commerce appeared before PAC to answer to audit queries raised by the Auditor General (AG)’s Report for the year 2013.
The AG’s report revealed that contrary to the Appropriation Act of 2012, amounts totaling K2, 345, 073 meant for the general operations were applied on the procurement of four motor vehicles without obtaining authority from the Secretary to the Treasury, consequently budgeted for programmes were not executed.
Commerce Permanent Secretary Siazongo Siakalenge said K1 million of the amount was taken from Planning and information department. Dr Siakalenge said the balance was already meant for capital expenditure.He said the procurement of vehicles without obtaining prior authority to vary funds had no justifiable reason.
Dr Siakelenge said the officers involved have been cautioned verbally to adhere to procedures.
“You may wish to note that the ministry received two additional deputy ministers who required duty vehicles and the duty vehicle for the Cabinet minister was in deplorable state,” he said.
Mwembeshi UPND MP Austin Milambo asked Dr Siakalenge if verbally cautioning the officers involved was enough and why they were being cautioned when the permanent secretary had authorised the variation of the money.
PAC chairperson Getrude Imenda said it was clear why the two vehicles for deputy ministers were bought but wondered why the purchase of the minister’s vehicle was equally an emergency when it should have been part of the budget considering that it was in a deplorable state.
Ms Imenda urged Dr Siakelenge to improve financial prudence so that he did not return to PAC next time.