The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament has resolved to discipline Ministry of Information, Tourism and Culture Principal Secretary Chimwemwe Banda for refusing to appear before the committee to respond to Treasury minutes yesterday.
Banda and other officials from the ministry were summoned to explain the loss of about K15 million as part of its oversight role.
Committee chairperson Alekeni Menyani told The Nation in an interview that following Banda’s failure to appear, the committee has resolved to report her to the Chief Secretary to the Government and start contempt of Parliament proceedings against her.
Said Menyani: “We sent to her office letters reminding her of the documents she owed the committee and that she was scheduled to appear today [Tuesday]. But we are surprised that she decided to say she is too busy to meet Parliament and thus belittling the powers invested in us.”
He cited Section 60 of the Constitution and Section 11 of the Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Act, which empower the committee to discipline wayward controlling officers.
“This is a constitutional and governance issue. The Chief Secretary assured us recently that all controlling officers would comply with summons of Parliament,” Menyani said.
According to the Treasury minutes for 2005 and 2007, Banda was expected to explain a K14 million payment for services not rendered, irregular award of a contract to the director of Department of Information Systems and Technology Management Services amounting to K232 900 and explain missing payment vouchers amounting to K1 154 141.19.
Banda last appeared before the committee in October 2014 when she was turned back for presenting irregular documentation with the intention of deliberately misleading the committee.
Banda’s phone went unanswered yesterday, but her secretary said she was in a meeting.