Thu, 27 Oct 2016 08:30:30 +0000
OVER 200 officers at the Ministry of Agriculture based in Lusaka have been paid allowances exceeding K700,000 in rural hardship and remote allowances when in fact they were based at the ministry headquarters in Lusaka.
According to the 2015 Auditor General’s report, about 200 Ministry of Agriculture officers claimed rural hardship allowances when in fact they were not entitled.
According to the terms and conditions of service for the Public Service regulation no.166, an officer serving in an area declared to be a remote area shall be entitled to receive a hardship allowance at the rate as may be determined by the Government.
The AG’s report however stated that contrary to the above condition, 220 officers who were not eligible to receive the allowances were paid amounts totalling K708,799 rural hardship allowances.
The officers received rural hardship allowances amounting to K673,468 and remote hardship allowances K35,331 respectively.
The report said that the officers were not entitled to receive the allowances as they were based at the ministry headquarters in Lusaka.
Meanwhile, the ministry in May, 2014, engaged Orsmond Aerial Spray (PTY) Ltd to provide night time aerial spraying services at a contract sum of K10,982,080 for a period of four months.
Clause 42.1 of the contract stated that if the client delayed to make payments beyond 15 days after the due date, interest would be charged for each day of delay at the applicable rate of lending by commercial banks.
As of December 31st, 2014, the contractor had been paid amounts totalling K9,963,546 – leaving a balance of K1,018,534 in the same month.
However, the ministry delayed in settling certified claims amounting to K1,712,467 and as a result, interest amounting to K897,513 was charged by the consultant, bringing the total outstanding bill to K2,609,980 as of July 2016.