The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament has granted the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 a 45-day extension to reclaim allowances and other payments made unprocedurally to its members.
In a telephone interview yesterday, PAC chairperson Shadreck Namalomba said they were approached by the task force on Friday with a demand for extension.
PAC ordered the repayment on April 29 when they met task force members and asked them to explain why Leader of Opposition Kondwani Nankhumwa was paid over K3.5 million in allowances for fuel, accommodation and vehicle maintenance.
The committee ordered the task force to reclaim the allowances within seven days.
But Namalomba yesterday said they understood the observation by the task force that they cannot reclaim the allowances within that time as they need information dating back to when the task force was formed.
“They [task force] came back on Friday in the afternoon but not as we wanted. They came with a letter seeking for an extension to enable them dig more information because they are retrieving it manually, it is not computerised.
“So, under the current circumstances, we agreed that they need ample time. If they had computerised information, it would have been at the touch of a button,” he said.
When contacted yesterday, Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 co-chairperson Dr Wilfred Chalamila-Nkhoma, in a written response, said: “The requested information is to allow time to find and consolidate information on all that have been part of the task force that goes back to when the task force was established as requested by PAC.
“This will need to go back to the previous financial year.”
But when the task force appeared before the committee, Chalamira- Nkhoma said only Nankhumwa and Inkosi M’mbelwa were the task force members receiving the allowances.
He defended how the task force was handling the Covid-19 response funds, stressing that budgets and activity plans were approved at various levels. Efforts to speak to Nankhumwa yesterday proved futile as he could not be reached on numerous occasions on his known mobile number