Judiciary Officials Interrogated on Finances
Officials from the Judiciary appeared before the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament Tuesday afternoon, where they were interrogated on a number of audit queries raised by the Auditor General in an Audit Report on management of public funds, covering the 2016 2017 financial year.
The queries included that some expenditures were made without supporting documents, some funds could not be accounted for and other monetary transactions were done contrary to laws on public finance management.
The Committee cleared a number of queries after being satisfied with responses from the Judiciary officials but asked for additional information on some issues.
For instance the Judiciary has been asked to intensify its investigation on how a 1.3 Million Kwacha cheque which was deposited in its Sherrif Bank Account on 24 October 2016, ended up disappearing.
Registrar for the Supreme Court of Appeal and High Court Agnes Patemba told the Committee, Judiciary officials are facing challenges to establish how the cheque vanished, as four years have gone since the incident occurred.
“We have failed to find the image of that cheque, even the Auditor General doesn't have image of that cheque. But we will still go back to the bank and come back with the response of whatever will transpire,“ said Patemba.
The Committee also said has issues with use of Sherrif Bank Account in the Judiciary after observing that a number of queries were to do with the accounts.
However, Patemba said the law permits the Judiciary to operate the bank account indicating some transactions are done after being approved by treasury.
Chairperson for the committee Ken Kandodo said the judiciary needs to address challenges in areas such as human resource to improve on financial management.
"We have recommended that the Judiciary must improve in its filing system if they need more personnel in the accounts department, the office of the Accountant General is there to assist them,” said Kandodo.
Registrar Patemba admitted there are numerous challenges affecting management of funds at the judiciary.
"We don't have enough personnel and the Accounts Department is one of those department s hit by shortage of staff,“ said Patemba.
PAC continues meeting various stakeholders on the Auditor Report.