Amid pressure from government suppliers of goods and services, the National Audit Office (NAO) has cleared five companies to access payment from Treasury.
The clearance of the suppliers this week comes three months after the Auditor General (AG) was askedÂ to verify government debt arrears amounting to K72 billion (about $288 million).
However, in response to the concerns, the acting AG Rexie Chiluzi said at least five suppliers were cleared out of hundreds on the waiting list.
Chiluzi said the exercise has taken long because his office wants to be thorough in the investigations.
Secretary to the Treasury Radson Mwadiwa wrote the AG in June 2012 to verify the arrears government accrued in the past years and establish what led to their accumulation.
Asked why it has taken his office three months withoutÂ clearing anyÂ supplier, Chiluzi declined to comment, saying:Â â€œI do not think I can have an answer [on why no company has been cleared], but I have just signed clearances forÂ about five or six companies. The clearance will be sent to Treasury anytime.â€
Some senior government officers at the Treasury blamed NAO for the slow response in auditing and verifying government debt arrears.
â€œWe are waiting for the National Audit Office to send us the certification and invoices verified for Treasury to raise their payments,â€ said a senior Treasury official.
Mwadiwa on Thursday said they already provided necessary information on the matter and that what was remaining was for government to deal with the suppliers.