BUST THE CARTELS
… accountants, IT officers syphoning council money – Sejani
By Fanny Kalonda
THE Local Government Service Commission has noted with concern that revenue collection in councils has not improved despite government getting rid of cadres in bus stations and markets.
LGSC chairperson Ackson Sejani said it is inexcusable for councils to fail to finance their operations and pay their employees.
Addressing the media yesterday, Sejani said there has been rampant revenue leakages in councils.
“The financial loopholes that are being exploited by thieving cartels that exist in many of our councils make it impossible for the councils to fully benefit from the removal of cadres from markets and bus stations. I call upon these chief executives to go and bust these stealing cartels so that every ngwee due to the council actually finds its way to the coffers. There is absolutely no excuse why city councils like Lusaka, Kitwe, Ndola, Livingstone and Chipata should not be generating enough revenue to fund their operations, including paying their workers. Things must change,” he said. “We have discovered that some accountants, IT [staff], among others have created a cartel to syphon money meant for the local authority. In this regard, 19 officers have been fired for embezzling money.”
Sejani refuted media claims that town clerks and council secretaries have been fired.
He said no principal officer has been fired but only reshuffles have been made in that regard.
Sejani said this followed a meeting to make changes at town clerk and council secretary levels to enhance effective management and administration of the councils.
He said some town clerks and council secretaries have been transferred to other councils while others have been promoted.
“Some transfers were made to equitably spread out skills and experiences so that even the so-called remote parts of the country can get a fair share of senior, experienced and skilled staff. This is important for their take off especially newly created districts. This is also aimed at stemming the rural-urban drift,” Sejani said. “…to some the transfer is aimed at protecting them as the work environment might become hostile. Some might have applied to be moved to be close to medical facilities.”
He urged officers to pull up their socks adding that failure to function properly would attract firing.
“Transfers are normal public administration as the commission is not doing anything strange. Five out of five have been transferred in city councils, 13 out of 15 in municipal councils and 56 out of 96 in town councils. The affected total has been 74 out of 116. Those who will not change things for the better will themselves be changed and this change might include parting of ways. I would like to take this opportunity to call upon all our council chief executives to pull their socks. Roll up their sleeves and get down to work. Both those who have been affected by this reshuffle and those remaining in their old stations must realise that things are changing in Zambia.
This, therefore, cannot be business as usual,” said Sejani. “We may not have fired anyone at this stage yet but we won’t be shy to part company with any officer for incompetence. We are warning…firing for incompetence. A good and conducive environment has been created by removal of party cadres from stations so we expect the council to improve with revenue collection. The local government sector is one to be used to deliver to the people through decentralisation.”
Source – Zambianobserver.com
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