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Auditor General has powers to appoint external auditors to audit state organs with the President’s consent, says LAZ

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THE Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) says the Auditor General has powers to appoint external auditors under section 10 of the Public Audit Act, No.29 of 2016 to audit any state organs and state bodies.

This follows a public discourse on the private audit of Defence Forces.

Last week, some opposition members of Parliament walked out of the National Assembly during a question and answer session accusing Vice President Mutale Nalumango of having failed to give an answer regarding the decision to engage private firms to audit the Ministry of Defence and National Security Services.

Leader of opposition, Brian Mundubile asked Vice President Mutale Nalumango on why three different positions on private auditing companies have been engaged to audit the Ministry of defence and and NationalSecurity Services.

Mr Mundubile stated that the Public Audit Act Section 24(3) prohibits consultants, agents and private auditors from accessing books, records and documents or entering the premises of the  Defence and National Security Services.

He demanded evidence to show that Part VII section 73(3) of the Public Finance Management Act No. 1 of 2018 was complied with.

However, LAZ president Lungizani Zulu says despite the general power to appoint external auditors, the Auditor General’s authority to subcontract the audit of the Defence Forces is limited by the provisions of section 24(3) of the said Public Audit Act, No. 29 of 2016.

He said the provisions expressly enjoins the Auditor General not to permit any authorised person, agent or specialist consultant to have access to any book, record, returns report or other document, or to enter the premises of any component of the defence force, national security services or a law enforcement agency.

Mr Zulu said the restriction on access to records of the Defence Force is re-echoed under the provisions of section 73(2) of the Public Finance Management Act, No. 1 of 2018.

“These provisions are aimed at ensuring that the security of the nation is not compromised.

However, the Auditor General can only appoint external auditors to audit the defence forces where circumstances of an audit justify such subcontracting, and additionally, the prior written consent of the President, authorizing access by external auditors is obtained.

This is provided under section 73(3) of the Public Finance Management Act, No. 1 of 2018 and the preconditions are meant to safeguard national security,” Mr Zulu said.

He said it is LAZ’s considered position that the subcontracting of the external auditors to audit the defence forces is legal if it was done by the Auditor General following the President’s prior written consent.

Mr  Zulu said the Auditor General is required to satisfy the President that national security would not be compromised by the access, before the President can grant such written consent.

“This press release has been issued on a matter of public interest regarding the security of the nation, compliance with relevant public finance management laws as well as the observance of rule of law for the greater good of the Nation in furtherance of the LAZ’s mandate under Section 4 of the Law Association of Zambia Act,Chapter 31 of the Laws of Zambia,” he said.

(Mwebantu, Tuesday, 22nd November, 2022)

Politics

Govt dismisses claims of having sold shares to Kansanshi Mine, Kasanda says

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GOVERNMENT has clarified that ZCCM Investments Holdings (ZCCM-IH) has not sold its shares in Kansanshi Mining Plc contrary to the misinformation that has proliferated surrounding the new agreement between ZCCM-IH and First Quantum Minerals (FQM) over the management of Kansanshi Mining Plc.

Govenment spokesperson Chushi Kasanda said under the terms of the deal announced on December 1st, this year, ZCCM-IH will receive a 3.1 percent royalty payment from the revenue of Kansanshi which is operated by FQM.

“This royalty is estimated to be in the region of USD$50 – 70 million per year, depending on the gross value of metal products, mostly copper and gold, sold or otherwise extracted at Kansanshi. This arrangement is valid for the entire life of the mine and follows extended discussions between ZCCM-IH and FQM over the past three years. It replaces the previous dividend-based model and is expected to provide up to twice the revenue to ZCCM-IH compared to the previous arrangement,” she said.

Ms Kasanda said the advantage of this arrangement for ZCCM-IH is that the royalty will be paid out so long as Kansanshi is operational, creating a more predictable and consistent revenue stream that ZCCM-IH can use to raise financing and follow its ambitious investment strategy.

“Dividends, by contrast, would only be paid out when the mine makes a profit. They are also paid out at the discretion of the mine’s Board of Directors. ZCCM-IH will continue to hold its shares in Kansanshi and also continue to be represented on the Board of Kansanshi in order to ensure full visibility and transparency regarding the mine’s operations. ZCCM-IH will also continue to have pre-emptive rights in respect of Kansanshi,” she said.

She said also that this will increase and make more consistent revenue stream , which will allow ZCCM-IH to effectively plan for the future, enabling it pursue an ambitious investment strategy that will create jobs and promote growth in the country’s economy.

“Government advises citizens to remain vigilant and ignore misinformation which claims that ZCCM-IH is abandoning its stake in Kansanshi. This is simply a new arrangement that provides a more beneficial revenue stream while still maintaining ZCCM-IH’s ownership in Kansanshi, oversight of operations, and exposure to its future growth, including the USD$1.25 billion Kansanshi expansion which was approved earlier this year. This arrangement provides a win–win opportunity for both ZCCM-IH and Kansanshi. This is in line with the Government’s vision of promoting sustainable investment in the mining sector,” she said.

(Mwebantu, Saturday, 3rd December, 2022)

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First Lady Mutinta Hichilema did not travel to Dubai using the Zambia Airforce Gulfstream Jet

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GOVERNMENT has discribed as false, social media reports that the First Lady Mutinta Hichilema travelled by Zambia Air Force (ZAF) Gulfstream jet to Dubai to attend the Merck Foundation Africa-Asia Luminary annual conference.

Speaking at a press briefing at the Ministry of Information and Media in Lusaka today, Deputy Secretary to Cabinet for Administration, Dr Oliver Kalabo, said that the reports are not true as the First Lady travelled by a commercial flight to Dubai.

“It is not true that the first Lady travelled by ZAF Gulfstream jet. The truth of the matter is that the First Lady travelled by a commercial flight, Emmirates, flight number EK 714 and tickets provided by the organisers of the conference. She departed Lusaka on 13th November, 2022 at 21:30 hours. Coincidentally, the Gulfstream left at 02:00 hours, the same day, for Dubai, where it was due for routine maintenance. The plane has since been in Dubai and is due to return on 10th December, 2022. This is the fourth time that the jet has gone to Dubai for routine maintenance,” said Dr. Kalabo.

Dr Kalabo further explained that the First Lady travelled to Dubai at the invitation of the Merck Foundation to attend the inauguration of the 9th Edition of the Merck Foundation Africa-Asia Luminary, as guest of honour, held on 15th and 16th November, 2022.

And Information and Media Permanent Secretary Kennedy Kalunga advised citizens not to take whatever is shared on social media as gospel truth, as in this case where the reports are totally false.

This is according to a statement issued by the Ministry’s public and media relations unit.

(Mwebantu, Friday, 2nd December, 2022)

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Zambia to co-host the second Summit for Democracy next year in March

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ZAMBIA is next year expected to join Costa Rica, Netherlands, Korea and the United States in hosting the second Summit for Democracy.

The Summit will demonstrate how democracies deliver for their citizens and the nations are best equipped to address the world’s most pressing challenges.

In a statement posted on the White House website,  the leaders of the hosting nations have stated that they have taken up the call to host inorder to demonstrate uphow transparent, accountable governance remains the best way to deliver lasting prosperity, peace, and justice.

“Today, we the governments of Costa Rica, the Netherlands, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of Zambia, and the United States are pleased to announce that our leaders will co-host the second Summit for Democracy on March 29-30, 2023.

We are living through an era defined by challenges to accountable and transparent governance. From wars of aggression to changes in climate, societal mistrust and technological transformation, it could not be clearer that all around the world, democracy needs champions at all levels,” reads the statement.

The Summit will assemble world leaders in a virtual, plenary format, followed by hybrid gatherings in each of the countries with representatives from government, civil society, and the private sector.

“Together, we will showcase progress made by Summit partners on commitments during the Year of Action, and will reaffirm the vitality of the democratic model and collective action to meet the unprecedented challenges of our time. We look forward to another successful Summit, and accelerating concrete action toward democratic renewal,” reads the statement in parts.

(Mwebantu, Thursday, 1st December, 2022)

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ZAMBIA: COVID-19 STATS

06 Dec 2022, 9:31 AM (GMT)

Zambia Stats

333,746 Total Cases
4,019 Deaths
329,690 Recovered

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