Judiciary under-funded by K22m – AG report

By Staff Reporter

THE judiciary had an underfunding of over K22 million in the financial year ended December 31, 2017.

According to the latest report Auditor General’s report on the accounts of parastatal bodies and other statutory institutions for the financial year ended December 31, 2017, a total provision of K450, 290,735 was made to cater for various activities of the judiciary in the financial year under review.

The report shows that out of the availed amount, K428, 087, 485 was released, “resulting in an underfunding of K22, 203, 250.”

On accounting and other irregularities, the report indicates that an examination of accounting and other records maintained at the judiciary headquarters in Lusaka and selected stations carried out in September last year  revealed impropriety.

The report states that there was failure to produce financial statements, according to Section 20 of the judiciary administration Act of 2016.

The said Section 20 says the chief administrator of the judiciary shall, as soon as practicable, but not later than six months after the expiry of the financial year, submit an annual report to the National Assembly on the activities of the judiciary during the financial year.

“The annual report shall include information on the financial affairs of the judiciary and shall include: (i) an audited statement of financial position of the judiciary; (ii) an audited statement of comprehensive income and (iii) such other information as the National Assembly may require,” the report stated.

“However, as at 31st December, 2018, the judiciary had not prepared any financial statements.”

The report of the Auditor General also highlighted failure to produce title deeds by the judiciary.

It noted that an examination of records revealed that during the period under review, the judiciary had a total of 617 properties across Zambia.

In terms of the number of properties per province, Lusaka had 51, Copperbelt had 60, Central had 40, Luapula had 60, Northern had 61, North-Western had 54, Southern had 63, Eastern had 90, Muchinga had 47 and that 91 are/were in Western Province.

“However, there were no title deeds produced for audit to confirm ownership of the properties. Further, as at 31st December 2018, the properties had not been insured,”

The other ‘black spot,’ according to the report is the judiciary’s failure to fill vacant positions.

“A scrutiny of the staff establishment register for the judiciary revealed that there were 6, 585 approved positions, out of which a total number of 4, 499 were filled up, leaving a total of 2, 086 positions vacant as at 31st December, 2018,” the report stated.

The other audit highlights are centred on misplacement of payroll area, irregular payment of remote hardship allowances, unaccounted for stores, irregular use of imprest, among other grey areas.