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Alba Iulia
Sunday, February 5, 2023

Why question defence force audits now ?

ColumnsWhy question defence force audits now ?

By Nkonkomalimba Kafunda

The opposition Patriotic Front has insisted hat it will go ahead with impeachment proceedings against president Hakainde Hichilema after the finance ministry, through the Audit General’s office engaged private accountants to audit the county’s security wings.

Acting President of the erstwhile ruling party Given Lubinda told journalists Monday that even though his party did not have the requisite two thirds members of the 156 member parliament, a lot of other MPs were not happy with HH’s rule and would support the motion.

This, however, can not be further from the truth and is generally seen as a party fighting to remain relevant after the humiliating electoral annihilation in the August 12 2021 polls. In essence, their planned move is a frivolous, mischievous and vexatious exercise in futility

On May 14, 2022, government appointed six audit specialist firm to verify the extent and veracity of the country’s public domestic debt, an exercise necessitated by the endemic corruption in the last government that has cost the country billions of tax payer kwachas. Of the six firms, two PriceWaterHouse Coopers and Grant Thorton were assigned to audit the defence forces.

Why are these audits being questioned now as they are about to come to their much anticipated conclusion? Are the probable results so damming that officials of the last government and their accomplices are going all out to discredit the process and, ultimately, the outcome?

The argument is that the sensitive and secretive nature of security operations make the hiring of these firms a national security breach does not hold water.

It is an open secret the echelons f power that for generations politicians using dubious business people and corrupt public servants have had no scruples syphoning public resources through the defence forces, because of the same secrecy that surrounds their operations

Supplying air, under supplying and supplying at exaggeratedly astronomical prices through collusion of quotations has been going for ages. This is where the same supplier provides the procuring or spending agency with three quotations and the seemingly most favorable is chosen creating an illusion f competitive procurement process when the beneficiary is one and the same.

The fact that the Auditor General’s office has been carrying out audits year in year out but the scourge has not declined or been eliminated in itself should be a cause of great concern. In essence the engaging of external auditors is in itself an audit of the auditor. It must be established whether previous audits met accepted international standards and can hold up to critical scrutiny and peer review.

Had previous audits been effective the country would not have continued losing billions paying for things supplied at inflated prices or not supplied at all. Here must also critically look at what succusses have been achieved over the years using the auditor general as the principal auditor of government financial dealings. Very little if any There has never been any significant successful prosecution using evidence gathered by the Auditor General in cases involving the security wings. Does this mean there have been no transgressions? I don’t think so

It is important, therefore, in this new dawn of accountability and transparency, all government wings are subjected to the same standard of scrutiny. . The security wings, because of the secretive nature of their operations, no doubt owe colossal amounts of money as they are easy conduits for corruption. In fact, they require greater probity than ordinary government departments

21 COMMENTS

  1. The problem that we have in Zambia is the capacity by many, and that includes supposed experts, to misrepresent or misinterpret matters. Most of us that have commented on this subject aren’t wholly opposed to the audit of these institutions. We’re opposed to the private and foreign firms whose officers don’t have the oath of office to have sight of our defense, intelligence and security records. It’s on record that Mark Mushili, a senior PF official was sent to prison because of his deals with MoD. What matters therefore is political will and not the auditors.

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  2. Further, we need an explanation or statement from the Minister of Justice about what’s trending on social media that GRZ has entered an out of court settlement with Honeybee in which the latter will be compensated an undisclosed amount of money. We’re anxious to know. If that is true then I’m shocked. I’ll comment when my mind settles

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  3. @Ayatollah is right. Just as this party in government criticized the previous government for contracting some French negotiating team for our debt, so it is that it looks odd that they are basically doing what local experts can do. I do not believe even for a minute that the Auditor-General’s office lacked capacity to do this audit professionally with local expertise — or are we missing something? I trust any auditing firm and I am sure the six contractors will do a commendable job. It is the aesthetics that usually go begging in situations like this. The out of court settlement with Honeybee shows that perhaps too much politics is and has been played at the expense of real delivery and this is catching up…

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  4. Wjile you are at it………..

    We also demand to know who paid for those ZAF chopper rides by musicians and other party officials during campaigns………

    ZAF air rides were used like a bus schuttle service……..

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  5. No one is againt conducting an audit, Zambians want to know why you rushed to give foreign companies which are linked to decades of misappropriation of our mineral wealth the keys to our security. What are you trying to achieve and do you really think your country’s imagine will improve by washing your dirty linen in public? This government should provide evidence in parliament of countries which have had their military audited by these firms as proof of experience and confidentiality. This move could prove to be very costly for UPND.

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  6. ZAF logs are there………….

    During campaigns there was an almost 80% increase in ZAF air traffic apart from the President using ZAF…………

    Why only during campaigns ??

    Some one or some organisation must be responsible for that bill…………

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    • Politicians usually abuse government institutions and in trying to correct things we shouldn’t lose our minds. How did Jack Mwiimbu find himself with a ZAF chopper in Kashikishi instead of Chienge? He’ll also be questioned one day

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    • Yes…….he must be questioned…….

      It is up to those who will be accused in this round of audits to point fingers are the current crop of ruling party.

      Blatant abuse of GRZ resources should be questioned

  7. The government has employed SIX external auditors. Two of the six are foreign companies.

    I think the citizenry questioning government is fine, should be encouraged even. However, it is misleading to make it look as if government has only contracted foreigners.

    Meanwhile, we will continue to do our due diligence and seek answers…

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  8. yes the government has told us about the engaging of the two auditing firms to audit Zambian defence force, so now the big question is how much is the contract wathe? how much will the the zambian government pay the two firms upon compilating and handing over the report to the head of state.?as for me i think we as zambians we need to know

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  9. Subjecting Private firms to Private Auditors is no different from What MMD DID by exposing the TUNNELS at
    State House just to discredit KK and UNIP but we all know what followed when there was an attempted ……………

  10. Lest people have forgotten, when MMD came into power they exposed a STATE SECURITY SECRET at State House
    “THE TUNNELS” all just to fix KK and UNIP and trying to justify cost of constructing as being wasteful. Zambia later became a
    laughing stock by the International Community including the West MMD wanted to please. Later we all know the panic that
    followed when there was an …………………….

    I can only hope we leant a lesson from there

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  11. Upnd cadres are a problem…We are talking about the security of the nation…And a f.ool is saying that it’s mischievous how shallow. There is no where in the world a private firm audit a security wing of the nation, Zambia are the first ones…

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  12. Why impeachment where there is no issue, are they auditing ammunition or abuse of resources? In the same vein, can we please round up all PF Politicians for promising more money in the pockets of Zambians in 2011 and at the end of the ten-year tenure there was none. Tit for tat required here

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