By KAIKO NAMUSA –
THE Zambia Air Force (ZAF) owes K11.2 million in unpaid house rentals to various landlords accrued between August 2005 and December 2013, the latest Auditor General’s report has revealed.
Auditor General Anna Chifungula said the outstanding debt is in respect of occupied and vacated houses and had not been paid as of December 2013.
“During the period from August 2005 to December 2012, house rentals payable to various landlords in amounts totaling K11,271,354,926 (old currency) in respect of occupied and vacated houses had remained unpaid as of December 2013,” Ms Chifungula said.
Ms Chifungula said the Ministry of Defence had a policy on housing for the Air Force personnel which prescribed the rates and type of accommodation that officers were entitled to.
She said the rates of entitlements were based on the rank of the officers adding that the policy stipulated the maximum housing rentals payable for each category of employees.
She said Government guidelines required that all rented houses be assessed by Government valuation department to determine reasonableness of the rentals and that in this regard, amounts totaling K817, 000 were released to cater for the payment of house rentals for the security wing officers.
It was revealed that K1 million was paid to various landlords in rentals for staff based in Livingstone and Kabwe but that the payments were not supported by valuation reports.
Ms Chifungula said this made it impossible to ascertain how the monthly rentals were determined.
On non-recovery of salary advances, Ms Chifungula observed that contrary to the terms and conditions of service for the public service, recoveries in respect of salary advances amounting to K117,000 paid to 26 officers during the period under review, had not been effected as of December last year.
The affected payments were made to officers based in Livingstone, Mumbwa and Kabwe.
The report said contrary to financial regulation number 96, imprest totaling K70,428 issued to eight officers had not been retired as of December last year.
The Audit report also cited the Zambia National Service’s lapses in the acquisition and usage of land in all the 10 provinces in the country.
“During the course of the audit, it was noted that the ZNS did not have consolidated data on land acquired and owned over the past years.
In this regard, it was difficult to determine the date of acquisition, the value and the nature of use of such land,” the report said.
In addition, Ms Chifungula said there was no land use plan in place and consequently neither utilisation of existing land resources nor the justification of acquiring additional land could be established.
The Auditor General said a physical inspection of selected pieces of land located in Lusaka Province revealed that some land owned by the ZNS was not properly demarcated or fenced off and as a result, it was
difficult to determine the boundaries of the plots, or whether or not the land had been encroached on.