By Staff Reporter

FORMER Minister of Community Development and Social Services Emmerine Kabanshi risk being arrested for alleged abuse of office, Intelligence sources have revealed.

President Edgar Lungu fired Kabanshi as Minister of Community Development and Social Services following the Social Cash Transfer scandal that rocked the ministry.

According to Intelligence sources, a combined team of Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) was likely to pounce on Kabanshi in relation to her alleged involvement in the Social Cash Transfer contract with ZAMPOST.

“There is available information that the former minister allegedly ordered the renewal of the social cash transfer contract with ZAMPOST after it was cancelled. The Permanent Secretary refused to sign the contract but when she came from her tour of duty, she ordered the signing of the contract even after issues of misappropriation were raised by the donors,” revealed the sources. “Her alleged action to order the signing of the contract might land her in trouble. From what we hear at the ministry headquarters, the former minister was forceful in her dealing with subordinates. We are yet to establish who signed the contract after the PS refused.”

Government has since revealed that about K41 million meant for the Social Cash Transfer (SCT), Project had not been accounted for by ZAMPOST.

According to a press statement released by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services Press Office, this translates to about 145,000 beneficiaries of about 500,000 total beneficiaries.

“The K41 million represents about 29.7% of the donor funding in the last 4 months. Government funds 75% of the project while donors fund 25%. The total funding currently stands at about K552 million, of which government funds K414million (75%), and donors K138million (25%),” read the ministerial statement in part. “In addition, a total of 355,000 beneficiaries are receiving their SCT smoothly with about 71% success rate currently. The 71% success rate is in line with the President’s message during the opening of Parliament on September 14, 2018 in which he stated that the program is doing well and government is considering scaling up to 700,000 beneficiaries in 2019.”

The SCT program is a major social protection intervention by government to continuously reduce extreme poverty in Zambia. Implementation is done by the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services (MCDSS).

Beneficiaries of this programme are persons identified by the MCDSS, aged above 65 years or individuals with severe disability. Currently, the SCT stands at K90.00 per household and is paid bi-monthly at K180.00 Households of members with disabilities receive a double amount of K180.00 per month, which is K360.00 bi-monthly. Payments are done through pay point managers who are from government departments mostly from Education and Health ministries. MCDSS also engaged ZAMPOST to administer the SCT and piloting was done in Luapula and Western Provinces.

And swearing in Nyimba Member of Parliament Olipa Phiri Mwansa as Minister of Community Development, President Lungu warned the newly appointed Minister that she risk being fired if she failed to deliver.

 “Do not wait until I relieve you of your duties in order for you to share challenges and problems you are facing,” said President Lungu.

President Lungu observed that some people forget that he was the appointing authority in the country and can substitute his team at any time.

“There is no limit to the number of substitutions I can make… I can substitute the whole team and the whole cabinet,” warned President Lungu.

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