Zambia Reports (Lusaka)

Zambia: Gross Incompetence in Newly Created Chilanga District

Councilors at Chilanga District Council in Lusaka have petitioned the Local Government Service Commission to transfer to another district, their Council Secretary Namukolo Kalufyanya for abuse of financial resources and gross incompetence.

The councilors also want the reinstatement of council treasurer a Mr Mainga who was irregularly fired by Ms Kalufyanya.

This according to a letter of petition copied to area Member of Parliament Keith Mukata, Local Government and Housing Minister and Permanent Secretary. The copy has also been sent to the office of the district commissioner for Lusaka.

"The councilors have thus anonymously resolved to request the commission to move her out of Chilanga with immediate effect. With these submissions, her work relationship with the councilors will have broken down irreparably. If she can learn something with this experience, you better give her a fresh start. Chilanga District Council will stall if she remains in her position," reads part of the petition.

Ms Kalufyanya was transferred from Kazungula, Monze and Solwezi district councils for incompetence and abuse of funds before she was sent to newly created district of Chilanga.

"The Council Secretary has failed to pull the council management in one direction. Her continued stay will just make more issues of mismanagement resurface," reads part of the January 14th letter.

The councilors have complained that Ms Kalufyanya had been making arbitrary decisions and spending council financial resources without the authorization of the council resolution.

For instance, the Council Secretary received K164 million for the Constitution making process, but she did not present the funds to the council and none of the councilors participated in the constitution programme. However, Ms Kalufyanya presented the K164 million expenditure to the council for approval as retirement for the money spent.

Ms Kalufyanya's had increased her monthly salary and added some personal emoluments without the resolution of the councilors.

"Her salary for December 2012, represents an adjustment from her net salary Kr8, 063 to Kr9, 723, which was not tabled before the finance committee of the council. She has spent some council funds from the cashier before banking the said money, which is against council regulations of 1992," reads another part.

The another part of the petition said that Ms Kalufyanya has been requesting and authorizing payments on her own because she had ensured there was no internal control of resources.

"We are reliably aware that the internal accounting checks do not allow the top most, whos is the principal officer of the council to request and sign for her own fuels. We fear that this may become a big audit query," reads the petition.

Another irregularity committed by Ms Kalufyanya was that she signed and authorized her own rental payment without the authorization of the council. The authority to pay lies in the approved budget by the Ministry of Local Government and Housing.

"The council paid three months rentals from September to November 2012, for her and we allowed a further one month so that we can run into December, but she signed and paid herself a further one month without the approval of the council and consultation," reads another.

Another irregularity was on cheque number 00076 dated 16th November 2012, Zondo Transport was hired to ferry Ms Kalufyanya's household items from Livingstone to Chilanga, but it was later realized that the real transfer of goods was from Monze to Chilanga and the approval to pay was done without the authority of the council.

"She does not recognise the role of councilors because her comments on important matters related to councilors leave much to be desired and she does not consult sufficiently or recognise the importance of consultation on work related matters," reads another part of the petition.

The councilors who have petitioned are Simon Nsunge (Chilanga ward), Champion Tembo (Chilongolo ward), Edify Nzila (Chiyanja ward), a Munukayumbwa (Nakachenje ward), Chiti Mulenga(Nyemba ward) and two chiefs representatives a Mr Kapolowe and Mr Shelleni.

The councilors had also been concerned about continued difference between Ms Kalufyanya and the council treasurer who was dismissed from employment. The difference started when the treasurer threatened to suspend all payments to Ms Kalufyanya on funds that were not yet banked.

An anonymous source at Chilanga District Council has said that Ms Kalufyanya was not happy with the treasurer because she disowned her during a full council meeting where Ms Kalufyanya did not want some matters discussed.

"Ms Kalufyanya was advised against unilateral salary increments, but she ignored all the information and went ahead to effect new salaries. She fired the treasurer but we want the treasurer to be reinstated with immediate effect," the source said.

The source said Ms Kalufyanya recently made a one day familiarization tour of the new Chirundu District, but she paid herself a full subsistence allowance.

"We have information that Ms Kalufyanya has a personal relationship with the chairperson of the Local Government Commission Mr Mwandila and this is why she has not been fired, apart from being transferred from one council to another. We are not going to tolerate illicit affairs and incompetence in the Chilanga district Council," the source said.

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