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Sunday, 12 September 2010

A Parastatal Horror Show (Judiciary)

At this point in our series one may be forgiven if they gave up all hope regarding the fight against general mismanagement and plunder. The subject at hand brings us to the mother of all institutions - The Judicial Service Commission :
The Judiciary started operating as an autonomous institution through the Judicial Service Commission in 2008. According to Judicature Administration Act Cap 259 of the Law of Zambia, the Judicial Service Commission shall be composed of the Chief Justice who shall be the Chairman, the Attorney General (AG), the Chairman of the Public Service Commission, the Secretary to the Cabinet, a judge nominated by the Chief Justice, the Solicitor General, a member of the National assembly appointed by the Speaker of the National Assembly, a member to represent the Law Association of Zambia nominated by that Association and appointed by the President, the Dean of the Law School of the University of Zambia and one member appointed by the President....According to the Act, the Chief Administrator is responsible for the day to day running of the Judiciary and is assisted by chief officers namely the Registrar of the High Court of Zambia, the Director of Human Resources and Administration; and the Chief Accountant.
With such an illustratious list of "overseers", including the AG one expects the Judicial Service Commission to be above board in its dealings. Otherwise, what is the point of having them on the board? If the Judiciary is poorly run and without procedures what hope is there for anything else?  Its a sobering thought and a sad indictment therefore to find that this actually one of the most poorly run agencies. 

We have the cultural failure to prepare statements :
The Judicature Administration Act, CAP 24 of 1994 requires the Judiciary to prepare financial statements which should be submitted to the President not later than six months after expiry of each financial year...It was observed that, contrary to the provisions of the Act, the Judiciary had not produced the financial statements for the years ended 31st December 2008.
Now, how can such an important institution fail to prepare statements? It does not help the Judiciary to exhibit such incompetence in running of their affairs, especially when we consider that it is poorly funded : "In the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for the financial year ended 31st December 2008, a provision of K129,010,305,515 was made out of which amounts totalling K111,256,124,757 were released resulting in an under funding of K17,754,180,758 which represented 14% of the total authorised provision". I do not blame the Executive in this regard. The worst thing is to give the Chief Justice and his friends money which will only be abused. 

There's also the customary failure to manage procurement :
On 18th November 2008, the Judiciary engaged Dove Computing Company, a local software supplier to supply and install a payroll system. In this regard a payment of K65,000,000 was made to Dove Computing Company on 20th November 2008 for the supply and installation of the system. An inquiry with management revealed that Dove Computing failed to deliver the payroll system and as of October 2009, the pay roll had not been received by the Judiciary. Although in his response the controlling officer stated that there were inadequacies in Dove Computing’s ability to handle Judiciary`s payroll which led to the cancellation of the contract and that Dove computing had since committed themselves to refund the monies, as of May 2010 only K25 million had been paid back.
More worrying  is what seems like blantant abuse of public funds in form of unretired imprest. Contrary to Financial Regulation No.96, imprest in amounts totalling K1,2bn  paid between January and December 2008 had not been retired as of October 2009. That is in addition to payment vouchers worth K2.1bn which were not presented for audit; and, inadequately supported payments worth K2.8bn between January and December 2008  contrary to Financial Regulation No.52. 

What is sad about all of this is the lack of public anger. I put that down largely to the fact that the public has accepted and conceded that the judiciary is corrupt and poorly managed. This is why facts like those contained in the current AG report does not move people. A sense of helplessness hovers among our people. The shackles of poverty weigh heavily to consider all other matters. 

Next Stop : Mulungushi University

Previous Posts :


  1. The Ravaging of Africa - Corporate Plunder Pt 1, Pt 2 and Pt 3.

  2. Neither poor nor lazy, but robbed. The robbing of Zambia's resources is also touched upon in part three of this radio show:

    The Ravaging of Africa - Corporate Plunder Part 3


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