The Public Accounts Committee (Pac) of Parliament on Wednesday quizzed the Department of Nutrition, HIV and Aids in the Ministry of Health to explain why expenses for some items amounting to K132 million were charged to wrong account code in 2013 without Treasury’s approval.
Principal Secretary in the ministry Dan Namarika told the committee that recordkeeping was a problem.
However, the parliamentarians and the Auditor General (AG) said failing to account for expenditure is becoming the order of the day.
Tempers flared when Karonga Central Member of Parliament (MP) Frank Mwenefumbo diverted the issue to malnutrition which he said is at a worrisome point in the country.
He said if the money were used for other things in the ministry, it could improve operations of the ministry.
“If it was not subjected to query, it could make a big difference. I am concerned of issues of stunted growth. It is an issue that is a silent dilemma haunting this country and because of that, any misused resources in the department concerns me. It does not address primary issues of the department. If stunting is left unchecked, it spells doom to our nation,” he said.
However, Vice- Chairperson of the committee Kamlepo Kalua said the core business of the committee is the audit query not malnutrition which did not go down well with Mwenefumbo who insisted that the issue of stunting was still relevant.
Answering on the same, Namarika said the ministry is interfacing with the relevant parliamentary committee, HIV and Nutrition and soon, the ministry will be bringing the Nutrition Bill to Parliament.
Despite the debate, the MPs eventually accepted the explanation of the ministry officials.