A PURGE of corrupt civil servants behind the misappropriation of billions of Kwacha from donors at the Ministry of General Education has resulted in the dismissal of about 21 officers.
Initially, the officers were served with suspension letters before they were recalled on condition of monthly salary deductions until the amount owed by each was recovered, but that decision has been overturned and about 21 of them have so far received their dismissal letters.
According to one of the letters dated May 29, 2019, and signed by Education Permanent Secretary Jobbicks Kalumba, the warning letters issued to them have been revoked and that their terminal benefits had been forfeited to the state following the termination of their employment.
Meanwhile, sources within the ministry told the Daily Nation yesterday that even though only 21 out of about 80 employees who were suspended last year had received their dismissal letters, the process was ongoing and more people would be fired.
“The people who were fired had initially been given warning letters after serving their suspension. Upon resuming work, each one of them signed consent letters that the money they are alleged to have misappropriated will be deducted from their salaries and the deductions had been in effect.
“This comes to them as a shock because some of them were alleged to have misappropriated as little as K2, 000 and had already cleared their bill before they received these letters. What we are getting is that this is an on-going process as more people may be receiving their dismissal letters soon,” the source said.
Efforts to get a comment from Dr. Kalumba proved futile as his phone went unanswered while WhatsApp message sent to him was not responded to.
A forensic audit that was done by the Auditor General up to September 26, 2018, established that K19.5 million was embezzled by staff at the ministry. About 80 officials were suspended to pave way for the probe.
The suspensions came after African Confidential reported that massive fraud had taken place at the Ministry of General Education.