THE Public Accounts Parliamentary Committee (PAC) on Thursday put the Ministry of Works to task over haphazard reallocation of 348bn/- basically meant for expenditure on the so-called 'Special Road Projects.'
Apart from the reallocation, the ministry was under fire again for not having the strategic plan around that is crucial in guiding it to implement various development programmes.
At the meeting chaired by Mr Gaudence Kayombo (Mbinga East-CCM), the ministry was asked to explain why it has been encountering a number of anomalies in spending money for various projects, as a result receiving qualified opinions from the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) for two years consecutively. "We have come to realise that you have been in bad books with the CAG in 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 with qualified reports.
But surprisingly, why did you choose to spend money on what you call Special Road Projects. What are those?" asked Mr Kayombo. The ministry's Permanent Secretary, Amb. Herbert Mrango, said that apart from the construction of roads, the money was also used to pay contractors and that there was nothing wrong with the payment system. "Mr Chairman, what I know is that we had a good accounting record for the years in question.
Therefore I also wonder why we got a qualified report from CAG," he said. The PAC Chairman, Mr Zitto Kabwe, chipped in saying it was wrong for the ministry to ask for money and spend it on different allocations.
He insisted that budget procedures must be adhered to during such expenditures. According to Mr Kabwe, if it occurred that the ministry needed to pay contractors, it was then supposed to preparea special request and allocate the money in the budget according to accounting regulations.
The billions which were spent in 2011/2012 also left Mr Zitto charging that the CAG should carry out a special value for money audit by verifying all projects on which the money in question was spent.
"The CAG has to carry out a thorough audit of value for money and examine the nature of all transactions defended by the ministry. Otherwise the higher parliamentary ethics organs will have to intervene," he said.
The ministry was also tasked to submit the strategic plan by December, this year, Mr Kabwe said. Experts at the Finance department have to assist the Permanent Secretary in rectifying anomalies as raised in the CAG reports as well as putting up a good accounting system.