Zambian AG warns on ‘wayward’ public sector accountants

7 Jan 19

Zambia’s accountant general has vowed to crackdown on public sector accountants found to be abusing taxpayers’ money and not “serving the nation”.

In his New Year message, Dick Sichembe said all public sector accountants should commit themselves to improved public service delivery and improving the economy.

He warned that he would push for full enforcement of the Public Financial Management Act and those who do not comply could face prosecution.

Sichembe said: “As accountant general, I will ensure that you are supported in your work.

“However, should there be anyone among us who will not align themselves to the vision of serving the nation through compliance with the PFM Act, 2018, I will not hesitate to evoke disciplinary provisions, therein, against you.”

Last year, several public sector accountants were suspended or dismissed in a number of government ministries over abuse of public funds.

The government dismissed three accounting staff for fraud and theft of public funds at the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure Development two months ago, local media reported.

The accountant general said: “I will take every opportunity to ensure that there is prudent utilisation of public resources in order for the accounting cadre to effectively contribute to the performance improvement of the public service through timely attainment of resource backed performance targets.

“In doing so, facilitating economic stabilisation, growth and effective financial management will be the mantra of the accounting cadre forthwith and you, colleagues, are the ones to spearhead this crusade.”

He added that 2019 would not be “business as usual” and accountants should contribute to the government’s goal to rebuild the economy through public sector reforms, such as the PFM Act introduced last year.

The reforms include improving Zambia’s budgeting systems and transparency and accountability, which the government hopes will help support public service delivery, reduce poverty and increase sustainability.

“We should all make sure that 2019 becomes a year driven by discipline, honesty, hard work, integrity and accountability in the performance of our duties,” Sichembe said.

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