SECRETARY to the Treasury Fredson Yamba has directed all controlling officers in ministries and provinces to immediately surcharge all erring officers cited for misappropriation of public funds as revealed in the latest Auditor General’s Report to recover the Government funds.
Mr Yamba has, meanwhile, said the revised Public Finance Management Bill soon to be presented to Parliament would, among other key matters, create a special committee to effectively deal with financial crimes in the country.
He warned that failure by any controlling officers to surcharge erring officers linked to misappropriation of the public funds would subsequently lead to the invocation of Clause 30 of the Public Finance Act of 2004.
“The committee shall be informed accordingly on the progress of the matter,” Mr Yamba said.
He said this yesterday when he appeared before a Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chaired by Howard Kunda to respond to various queries on the report of the Auditor General on the financial year ended 2016.
Mr Yamba told the committee that there was need for more punitive measures to deal with erring officers, and was confident the revised Public Finance Management Bill would enforce severe charges.
The Bill, he said, had provided for punitive measures to punish office holders for failure to provide necessary information to the Auditor General.
Mr Yamba said those controlling officers redirecting funds to other projects without authority from the Treasury would equally have to face the wrath of the law.
He said there was need to ensure accountability and transparency in the use of public resources because it was such a manner that would result in the realisation of many social economic benefits for the good of all citizens.
Earlier, Mr Kunda and his members emphasised the need for Mr Yamba to ensure controlling officers were sensitised on the need to uphold prudent use of finances while always consulting the Treasury before making any redirection of funds to other programmes.
Patriotic Front (PF) Mkushi Member of Parliament Doreen Mwape said there was need for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to bring ambassadors and high commissioners to respond to audit queries instead of being represented since they were the ones in charge of funds.