The Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) has said the allocation of 1.5million Kwacha in the National Budget to a nonexistent “Office of the First Lady ” is not only fraudulent but also institutionalized theft of public resources.
FDD spokesperson Antonio Mwanza said the Office of the First Lady is an imaginary office which does not legally exist.
Mr Mwanza said allocating public funds to an office which does not exist is theft of the highest order.
He explained that Article 265 of the Republican Constitution clearly stipulates that only public offices, State organs, and State institutions are entitled to state funding.
“The so called “office of the first lady” is an imaginary office which does not legally exist and it is theft of the highest order to allocate public funds to an office which is not only illegal but actually does not exist,” he said.
Mwanza quoted Article 265 of the Republican Constitution which says only public offices, state organs and state institutions are entitled to state funding adding that Any other entity which does not fall in this category is not entitled to receive state funds.
He said A public office means an office whose emoluments and expenses are a charge on the Consolidated Fund or other prescribed public fund and includes a State Office, Constitutional Office, and an office in the public service, including that of the member of the commission.
“Clearly the “office of the first lady” does not fall under any of the aforementioned categories. In short the office of the first lady is illegal and does not deserve to be funded by taxpayers,” Mr Mwanza said.
He added that there are no financial regulations that guides how that 1.5 million should be used.
“That money can neither be accounted for nor audited. The First Lady has the mono authority to spend the money in any way she wants so how will the public benefit from such a fraudulent allocation?” the FDD Spokesperson noted
“You cannot be dispensing public money like Masuku or Malubeni. There should be order and clear financial guidelines to ensure accountability and prudence. Parliament has a solemn duty to ensure prudence, transparency and accountability in the manner public resources are allocated and managed,” he said.
Parliament last week approved the allocation of 1.5million Kwacha to the office of the First Lady. The trend of allocating resources to the “Office of First Lady” started under late President Micheal Sata who instructed then Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda to allocate funds to his wife Dr Christine Kaseba.