Govt officers who fail to perform functions face criminal liability – Biti

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By Anna Chibamu

GOVERNMENT officers or bureaucrats who fail to perform their functions risk being charged.

This is according to a Public Accounts Parliamentary Committee report released recently.

Committee chairperson Tendai Biti Friday gave a warning to finance ministry top officials who were found to have failed to comply with the law on Condonation Bill they sought on Friday.

Biti said the first report on Ministry of Finance contained recommendations that had been approved by parliament to charge those public officers who fail to do their duties diligently.

The MDC legislator said the officers would face criminal liability as individuals, Biti said.

“Have you seen our first report on Ministry of Finance,” Biti said.

“If you have read that report, we have recommended and parliament has accepted that Public Finance Management amendment bill must be changed so that there is personal liability over officers , bureaucrats who fail to perform their functions in terms of the PFMA including Accountant General failure to issue warrants, submit monthly, yearly financial reports as required by law.”

During the committee’s previous hearings, it came out that some government officers had not been performing well due to various reasons resulting in omissions that led to negative results and loss of revenue by the state.

The Accountant General Edwin Zvandasara told the committee he acknowledged the recommendations.

“We have taken note of the recommendations. We are working on incorporating those proposals into the Bill in conjunction with the process of aligning the Bill to the new constitution.

Chikomba Central MP and Committee member Felix Mhona was not impressed with the timeframe taken by the Finance ministry to table the PFM Amendment Bill before the House.

“Why has it taken so long for the PFM Amendment Bill to be tabled in Parliament because it has been on the cards for a number of years on the table before the August House. What is the cause of the delay?”

Zvandasara could not give a timeline for the tabling of the bill but told committee members that, “quite substantial progress had been made on the matter”.