4 February 2013

Zambia: Auditor General Takes Lid Off Energy Ministry

THE Auditor General's report has revealed that the Ministry of Energy and Water Development, now the Ministry of Mines, Energy, and Water Development has operated without a strategic plan since the expiry of the last one in 2007.

The latest Auditor General's report stated that the Ministry of Energy, which is the parent ministry for strategic institutions such as Zesco, Indeni Petroleum Refinery and TAZAMA Pipeline had been operating without a strategic plan.

"There was no evidence that the ministry prepared annual operational plans whose implementation was evaluated and monitored.

"In this respect, the implementation of activities at provincial level was not monitored by the ministry headquarters and progress reports on the activities implemented were not prepared," the report said.

Other irregularities involved the manner in which the Ministry of Home Affairs entered into a deal with the Mufulira Municipal Council for the procurement of 14 houses for the Zambia Police Service at a cost of KR323, 729 (K323 million).

The report indicated that a physical inspection of the 14 houses located in Kansuswa residential area showed that they had cracked walls.

The Auditor General observed that although the valuation report was prepared, no structural assessment was availed to ascertain the status of the houses at the time of purchase.

The report also revealed that the Zambia Army, without following proper procedure, paid out KR208 million to various landlords for repairs of houses rented by Army personnel.

According to lease agreements signed between the Zambia Army and its landlords, the Army, through its maintenance section, was responsible for undertaking repairs to damaged rented houses.

In cases where the maintenance section was unable to carry out the repair works, the section was required to make an assessment of the repairs required and based on this, the Army would pay the landlord to

carry out the works.

"However, without assessments from the maintenance section, the Army paid amounts totalling K208, 330, 130 to various landlords for the repairs on the houses.

"In the absence of the assessment reports, it was not possible to ascertain the basis on which the payments were made," the report said.

The Army also purchased a house in Mansa at a cost of KR350,000 (K350 million), without carrying out a valuation of the property.

The Auditor General questioned how the Army arrived at the house value without a valuation.

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