A leaked letter from the Ministry of Finance has revealed that senior government officials have been diverting funds meant for the coronavirus (Covid-19) interventions into their own pockets as Allowances.
The letter from the treasury is dated 28 April 2020 and was signed by George Guvamatanga, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.
Guvamatanga who is clearly not pleased with the development ordered all the ministries to stop the processing of the allowances and to reverse all transactions which had been done. He further ordered that the money should be redirected towards Covid-19 interventions.
Part of the letter reads,
RE: CONCERNS OVER THE INCREASE IN UNAUTHORISED PAYMENT OF COVID-19 DOMESTIC ALLOWANCES BY LINE MINISTRIES
The above subject refers.
Treasury has noted with concern an increase in payment runs requesting for funding for processing of domestic allowances narrated as COVID-19 payments for stuff on duty during the lockdown period.
As you are aware, the pronouncement of the lockdown through Statutory Instrument 81 and 82 clearly called for mitigatory measures to prevent the spread of the Corona Virus and involved limited or no movement across cities and towns, and hence reduces domestic travel expenses.
Whilst Treasury appreciates the need to incentivize staff who are reporting for duty and risking their health to infection by the Corona Virus, payment of such an allowance should be guided by the Committee on the Harmonisation of Conditions of Service and approved by Treasury.
However, line Ministries are now prioritizing payment of allowances despite the call by Treasury in its letter dated 20 March 2020, requesting Accounting Officers to identify non-wage savings (operations and capital) from their respective Votes to be ring-fenced towards COVID-19 pandemic interventions.
In this regard, Treasury is directing all line Ministries to stop processing of domestic allowances and to reverse all transactions processed in the PFM system and redirect such resources towards COVID-19 interventions.
Your urgent attention to this matter will be greatly appreciated.