After dodging responsibility over the educational allowance scandal for more than four months, the National Assembly says Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) is scheduled to deliberate the matter at its forthcoming meeting.
The Nation’s investigative story in April this year exposed how the National Assembly let Renard Mapemba—Deputy Clerk of Parliament (corporate services)—to pocket around K10 million (US$30 303) in alleged illegal allowances between September 2012 and March 2013 for his travel and stay in Scotland in pursuit of his five-year part-time PhD programme at University of Glasgow.
The issue then was that Mapemba claimed external travel allowances instead of educational stipends, which are far much lower than the latter.
But it emerged last week, as per information from the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) that Mapemba—whose issue has also attracted the attention of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB)—should not even have used any public funds to facilitate his Scotland trip to attend one of his PhD sessions.
“The OPC granted Mr. Mapemba approval to proceed to Scotland on condition that no government funds would be used towards the trip,” said OPC spokesperson Arthur Chipenda in last week’s story.”
Despite numerous efforts by The Nation to get a comment from the PSC on the disciplinary action taken against Mapemba and Parliament’s response to the OPC, the institution was declining to comment.
But on Wednesday, principal public relations officer Ian Mwenye said: “I wish to acknowledge receipt of your questionnaire dated 30th August 2013. I wish to advise that the Parliamentary Service Commission is handling the issues. At the moment, this is all I can say.”
During the last interview, Speaker of Parliament Henry Chimunthu Banda, who heads the PSC that provides oversight to management, said issues of Mapemba were operational and fall under the clerk of Parliament (COP)
Apart from OPC, ACB has also taken interest in the matter with its senior public relations officer Egrita Ndala saying the body was still probing the issue.