22 November 2012

Zambia: K52 Billion Spent On Technical Body Drafting Constitution

GOVERNMENT has spent K52 billion on the Technical Committee drafting the Republican Constitution between November 2011 and September this year, Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba has said.

Mr Kabimba told Parliament yesterday that the final draft Constitution would be ready by June next year.

It was envisaged that K115 billion would be spent on conducting district consultative fora, provincial conventions, the national and sector-groups convention among other issues.

The minister said this would not include expenses relating to the holding of a referendum.

Mr Kabimba said this when he presented a policy statement on his ministry's 2013 Budget allocation of K295.1 billion.

The ministry received supplementary funding amounting to K128.8 billion to finance the operations of the Technical Committee and to meet outstanding payments under compensation and awards incurred prior to 2012.

The constitutional expenditure of K52 billion had been spent on the procurement of goods and services, the setting-up of offices and operations of the secretariat.

Other expenses included printing and countrywide distribution of key documents, media publicity programmes, stakeholder consultative meetings and other related operational costs.

"Part of the money will be used on operational costs for the secretariat and printing and countrywide distribution of documents, such as the final draft Constitution and the final report of the technical committee," he said.

He said one of the challenges experienced by his ministry was the financial debt burden arising from litigations in form of compensation and awards.

He said more than 75 per cent of the total annual budget for his ministry was channelled to the compensation and awards with limited financing for operations of the ministry and the administration of justice.

"This is unacceptable and the Government intends to redress this situation by sourcing and allocating adequate funding for purposes of compensation and awards and mainstreaming the management of compensation and awards to ensure efficient execution of payments. We shall also endeavour to embark on programmes with various Government agencies so as to reduce the current rate of litigation against Government," Mr Kabimba said.

He also expressed commitment to judicial and law reforms, which included looking at the Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code.

He said to achieve equitable legal representation to members of society, the ministry would establish the offices of Public Defenders in all the districts to replace the current legal aid system.

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