GOVT ‘SUSPENDS’ EDUCATION PS…to pave way for probe into donor funds theft

Ministry of General Education permanent secretary Henry Tukombe has been sent on forced leave to facilitate investigations into misappropriation of millions of dollars of donor funding. An audit of the donor funds has been commissioned, with officers from State House getting fully involved in the investigations.

A week ago, about 80 officials were suspended to pave way for the probe. The suspensions came after African Confidential reported that massive fraud had taken place at the Ministry of General Education, bigger than the $4.3 million Social Cash Transfer scandal.

State House spokesperson Amos Chanda confirmed Tukombe’s suspension at a media briefing in Lusaka yesterday.

According to senior government sources, among the investigations against Tukombe include a K750,000 he collected as travel allowance for trips he allegedly never undertook.

“…This was imprest from DFID. When we were at MOE [last week], we discovered that they had even switched off the system which links all GRZ institutions called Integrated Financial Management System (IFMIS)…Many officers have been suspended but he was still in the office until now when an instruction came that he must be suspended,” said the sources. “What went on there is massive, you won’t believe. Imagine someone getting imprest for K750,000 and never travels! It’s unbelievable…”

Tukombe did not pick up his phone and never responded to text messages sent yesterday to get his comment on the suspension.

And general education minister David Mabumba could not be reached on his phones while the ministry’s public relations officer did not pick several calls to her number.

Last week after the suspension of the other officers in connection with the disappearance of donor funds meant for maths and science, Tukombe refused to comment on the matter.

“Sorry, I am in Western Province. Let me just finish my programmes. Call the other PS, not me,” said Tukombe.

DANIDA and SIDA had pumped in millions of dollars for the improvement of mathematics and science in schools but sources have revealed that the money has been misappropriated.

Source: The Mast

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