19 January 2014

Zambia: AG's Report Reveals Financial Irregularities in Foreign Missions

THE latest Auditor General's report has revealed that US$1,800 was irregularly paid to Zambia's ambassador to Russia as extra accreditation allowance in 2011 when the envoy should have received just $100.

The ambassador was in August 2011 paid US$800 and $1,000 in December when the maximum he was supposed to receive as extract accreditation under the Zambian mission in Moscow was US $550.

The Zambian envoy in Moscow represents 11 other countries in the region and is entitled to US$50 per nation.

However, the envoy had only presented his credentials to two out of the 11 countries, meaning he was entitled to get only US$100.

"This resulted in an overpayment of US$1,700 which had not been recovered as of December 2013," the report stated.

Contrary to foreign service regulations, an officer at the same embassy was paid an education allowance in excess of his entitlement by more than K30,800 between May 2012 and February 2013.

This occurred after the officer decided to include his dependant on Government expense to Moscow without the approval or adoption order as required by the law.

The report also revealed that the embassy in Russia settled full medical bills amounting to US$49,391 when US$19,736 (40 per cent of the total bill) was supposed to be paid by the envoy himself.

"As of December 2013, there was no evidence that the amount of US$19,736.32 had been recovered from the ambassador," it stated.

Contrary to public stores regulation number 96 (i), the AG's Report also revealed unretired imprest amounting to more than K184,000 which was issued to 16 officers during the period under review.

In Ethiopia, the Government lost more than K188,000 in rentals after the envoy decided to move from the official residence to rent another house in Addis Ababa.

The envoy was entitled to a maximum of K27,755 as monthly housing allowance but the movement from the government residence due to the poor state of the house resulted into overpayment of K188,784.

"In this regard the ambassador moved into a US$7,000 per month rented house and as of May 2013, the Government had paid a total amount of $660,744 in rentals," the report stated.

Although the official residence was vacant, the Mission continue to pay water and electricity bills amounting to more than K15,875.

It stated that in February 2012, the ambassador received K3,992.25 as child and education allowance for a foster child prior to the approval by the permanent secretary in March and the money had not been recovered by December 2013.

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