Pressure Mount On Government Over Independence Day Expenditure
Homeland security Minister Richard Chimwendo Banda who was Chairperson of the 2021 Independence Day Celebrations has refuted claims that funds for the Independence Day Celebrations were channeled into the personal account of Chief secretary Zangazanga Chikhosi.
With pressure mounting on government over how it used public resources during the 6 July independence day Celebrations, Chimwendo’s remarks have come amid allegations from the public, mainly social media, that the committee for the event released about 230 million kwacha into an account which Chikhosi is a sole signatory.
There are reports that 238 million kwacha was transferred into an account under the name Chief Secretary for the same event, this is despite that government had told the nation that only 50 million would be used.
On Saturday, the Homeland Security Minister gave an expenditure breakdown to the media. Giving his break down, the minister, said that a total of 87 million kwacha was spent for the celebrations.
Of this amount, 16.5 million was used for accommodation, transport, honoraria, and preparatory meetings for the clergy. 36 million for decorations, banners and some other advertising materials. 27 million for preparatory meetings in all three regions, 1 million for transport and 680 thousand for protocol committee.
The minister said, the committee managed to save 156 Million Kwacha which will be deposited into government’s account number 1.
“I would like to refute these allegations, indeed we were funded and the budget was trimmed two days prior to the event and we had already spent in other aspects,” he said.
But Willy Kambwandira, Executive Director for the Centre for Social Accountability & Transparency thinks that government is being economical with the truth, arguing that, more especially when it has taken pressure from social media, for officials to come out and give an account of the expenditure for the event.
“We just want to know how our hard-earned taxes were spent and it seems our duty bearers are not being transparent. We are planning to drag them to court should this continue,” he said.
At the press briefing the minister declined to take any questions from the members of the press, as soon as he finished reading his prepared speech, he stormed out, saying that the Office of the President and Cabinet will release an expenditure report this coming Wednesday.