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PAC Squeezes Neno Council on Audit Report

Kuphanga- we have taken note of the errors Kuphanga- we have taken note of the errors - pic by Steve Kalungwe

The Neno district council authorities say lack of a tarmac road, permanent council offices and use of acting heads of departments are some of the issues choking development of the district.

This was revealed yesterday when a high level delegation from the council appeared before the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee to present its audit report.

District Commissioner Hudson Kuphanga told the PAC that most parts of the district have not developed due to poor road infrastructure, a development which affects revenue collection as some markets are difficult to reach.

"Due to poor road network especially the tarmac road, the district faces numerous challenges to deliver developmental projects where it is needed and potential investors are scared away," he said.

He added that ranging from the office of the Director of Finance going down, the positions are being held by acting personnel who may not have the full capacity to execute their roles effectively.

For example, the report which the council presented to PAC had audit queries ranging from missing receipts, unavailability of some documents, unprocedural procurement processes to manual payment bypassing the IFMIS.

Some receipts borne similar receipt numbers and some crucial documents requested by the auditors were not present or ready by the time the auditors visited Neno Council offices despite being given a notice of visit.

This raised questions from lawmakers Peter Dimba and Kezzie Msukwa among others who asked the council as to who gave it the blessings to use manual payments when the IFMIS was allegedly down.

Answering to this, the DC, who was merely responding to a prepared statement by his staff said that the council had no option but to initiate a manual payment process to some suppliers to meet deadlines but they later entered the vouchers into the IFMIS when it was up and running.

The queries which were acknowledged by the council have since been duly cleared by the house with few amendments and a warning to establish good working relationship with auditors.

The Neno DC further asked for a permanent office complex as they are now operating from a rented department of agriculture office, which is in bad shape and is draining the already inadequate council revenue.

Positively, the chairing person, honourable Ned Poya understood the DC who has been in office for four months but sent a stern warning to the council staff to work with integrity and avoiding playing games with audit matters.

Meanwhile Poya has instructed the ministry of Local Government to immediately act on recruiting professionals on all positions being acted upon to improve efficiency in the government running.

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