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Ministry of Transport cuts phone bill from $1.9 million to $649 a month after audit

Full report

 HON. MAJOME: Thank you Madam Speaker.  I want to thank and congratulate, Hon. Paurina Mpariwa the Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee and her Committee for continuing to execute their duties and unfortunately, depress us with an endless litany of misappropriation of public funds in our nation.  At the beginning when Hon. Mpariwa was speaking, there was a lot of hub-hub and discussion in the House.  When she continued with the report, I started thinking that possibly the reason why Hon. Members were continuing to hum and not listening, was that may be we have gotten to the very shameful and unfortunate point where we are now accustomed to the fact that whenever the Public Accounts Committee issues a report on the performance of accounts and appropriations in any Government department, we now know that there is always misappropriation, pilfering and disappeared funds.

Madam Speaker, it is a very sad state of affairs.  It appears as if we have become numb and we do not expect anything different that we can actually predict that she is going to tell us that the Auditor General condemned this procedure, found unsupported expenditure and so on and so on, and indeed it is.  What then becomes different is only the amounts that are lost and that are unaccounted for or maybe the manner or the attitude of the people responsible.

Madam Speaker, I think it is time that this Parliament, that we shake ourselves and awake from our slumber.  We cannot sit here day by day, listen and just digest and take in all these shocking reports of pilfering.  I do agree with Hon. Members who spoke before me, US$65 million is a shocking amount of money to just disappear, as it were, to be unaccounted for.  For a Government to be prejudiced or potentially prejudiced of US$65 million is totally wrong.

Madam Speaker, I want to ask fellow members of the august House, what it is that we are doing and what we are going to do about this because the way that these monies have disappeared is actually unconstitutional.  Even our Constitution itself went to detail in explaining and detailing what it is that must be happening to public funds.

In part four of the chapter on Public Finances, Chapter 17, it lays out duties of custodians of funds and property.  Now, this former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development that was being talked about and the other officers who seem to have connived in one way or the other, are custodians of public property as envisaged by Section 308.

Subsection 2 provides that it is the duty of every person who is responsible for the expenditure of public funds to safe guard those funds and to ensure that they are spent only for legally authorised purposes and in legally authorised amounts.  Subsection 3 provides further that they also have a duty, those who have the custody and control of public property, to safeguard the property and ensure that it is not lost, destroyed, damaged, misapplied or misused.

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