By JOSEPH BANDA –
THE Office of the Auditor General (OAG) has refuted media reports that it will abuse funds amounting to K2 million to audit foreign missions as it operates on the principle of transparency and accountability.
Reacting to accusations in yesterday’s Daily Nation newspaper OAG head of public relations Ellen Chikale said in a statement yesterday that the author of the story alleged abuse of funds in the audit of foreign missions and recruitment of staff.
Ms Chikale said the office would spend K1.4 million in air tickets and allowances for the audit of missions whose expenditure as at December 31, 2017 was K631 million.
She said the mandate of the OAG was to audit all public finances for all public institutions, including private institutions that receive Government subvention and Zambian Missions were not exempted.
Every year the OAG budgets for audits and the Missions’ activity was within the approved budget by Parliament.
Zambia has 38 foreign missions out of which 12 would be audited in 2018 due to limited funds.
She said the allowances payable to officers for foreign travel were as per approved Government rates and prior to undertaking any foreign trip by any officer from the OAG, authority to travel was obtained from Cabinet Office.
On allegations that the Audit of Washington, DC and New York Missions would cost K231, 341,000, she said that they were not part of those to be audited this year.
Ms Chikale said that the OAG was a public office with its staff recruited through the Civil Service Commission and the recent recruitment also involved the Public Service Management Division following the granting of Treasury Authority in line with the 2018 budget.
On private number plates on motor vehicles she said from the 1980s, the OAG’s fleet had private number plates due to the nature of its operations and were accounted for under the Ministry of Works of Supply.
She said it was clear that had the author of the article in the Daily Nation bothered to check the facts all relevant information could have been provided.
She assured that there was no abuse of public funds at the AOG’s office.