Auditor General Stephenson Kamphasa has called for strict implementation of penalties on controlling officers who fail to abide by the Public Audit Act and the Public Finance Management Act.
Kamphasa was specifically referring to the tendency by officials in government ministries, departments and agencies who fail to comply with the law on producing documents for audit inspection.
According to the current law, said Kamphasa, such officers are liable to a K50 000 fine or two years imprisonment and K10 000 fine for everyday they fail to provide information.
Kamphasa made the remarks when the Ministry of Transport and Public Works appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament to respond to audit queries for the year ending June 30 2015.
In their responses to audit queries on poor recording in fuel registers and missing supporting documents, the ministry’s director of finance and administration Joseph Magwira said these had since been traced and presented to the Auditor General for verification.
“Fuel was being used, but not recorded in ledger books. That has now changed,” Magwira said.
Kamphasa said his office had not been strict in enforcing the law, but there were serious repercussions for failure to respond to questions relating to government books and accounts, citing Section 7 of the Public Audit Act.
“We are now working on 2016/17 audits and from now onwards, controlling officers will have to comply in full with the law,” he said.
He said Section 88 of the Public Finance Management Act sets out disciplinary measures which have not been enforced.
PAC chairperson Alekeni Menyani said they would be meeting the Chief Secretary on non-compliance of the laws.
The officials were responding to queries on how fuel amounting to K19.4 million bought between July 2013 and March 2014 but not recorded in fuel registers was accounted for.