K209 million was erroneously paid in allowances to public officials under the Ministry of Education

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K209 million was erroneously paid in allowances to public officials under the Ministry of Education
K209 million was erroneously paid in allowances to public officials under the Ministry of Education

Africa-Press – Zambia. An audit recently conducted by the office of the Auditor General has revealed that K209, 542, 721.31 was erroneously paid in allowances to public officials under the Ministry of Education for the financial years 2017 to 2021.

The allowances erroneously paid were housing allowance at over K42, 000,000.00 paid to 2,594 officials, over K13, 000,000.00 rural hardship erroneously paid to 423 officials, over K2, 000,000.00 remote hardship allowance erroneously paid to 56 officials, over K61, 000,000.00 double class allowance erroneously paid to 3,075 officials and over K89, 000,000.00 responsibility allowance erroneously paid to 3,296 officials.

Following the completion of the exercise, the government has noted that despite printed instructions on all pay-slips for recipients to report overpayments and non-recovery of loans and advances, some urban-based officials in the ministry of education remained silent after erroneously receiving allowances such as rural hardship.

In certain cases, some teachers of single classes had erroneous access to double class allowances while the audit also revealed that certain officials who are currently accommodated in government houses, simultaneously got housing allowances.

And commenting on this development, Minister of Finance and National Planning Dr. Situmbeko Musokotwane said it is important to clearly indicate that the action taken on the basis of the report by the auditor general, is not punitive but aimed at recovering public resources erroneously paid to ineligible officials.

Dr. Musokotwane has advised public officials who think and have reason to dispute the findings of the auditor general to follow the laid down procedure in airing their views stating that their cases will be subject to verification and, if found credible, remedial action will be taken in liaison with the parent ministry and the auditor general to make refunds.

He has since instructed the accountant general to step up the liaison with the payroll management and establishment control department at cabinet office to ensure that the historical shortcoming of erroneous payment of allowances does not re-surface and that payroll management is non-disruptive, going forward.

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