At least 60% of the money meant for old people was used to finance luxury living, hotel and allowances of civil servants while the intended beneficiaries wallowed in poverty, an audit has revealed.
In 2017, according to the Auditor-General Mildred Chiri, the ministry of finance released a grant of $100 000 to provide for the development and promotion of the welfare and protection of older persons.
“My examination of the fund’s records revealed that only $38 586 was disbursed to Older people’s homes to cater for the welfare of older persons. The percentage of disbursement to beneficiaries in this case was
39% whereas the remaining 61% of the grant went towards administration expenses such as
institutional provisions, hospitality and travelling and subsistence allowances,” said Chiri.
This, according to Chiri, implies that the fund was prioritising administration expenses over the objectives of the fund.
“Prioritising administration expenses over the objectives of the fund would result in the fund failing to meet its mandate of the development and promotion of the welfare and protection of older persons. Management should ensure that grant received is expended mainly on promoting the development and promotion of the welfare and protection of older persons” the Auditor-General stated in her report which was tabled in parliament last Thursday.
The ministry represented by its permanent secretary however disputed the audit and said that it was not the correct assessment of how the funds were utilised.
“Ideally, the Older Persons Fund Board should meet at least once every quarter to deliberate and chart the way forward on matters to do with the welfare of the
elderly. These workshops are convened at institutions like ZIPAM where expenses like hire of halls, institutional provisions, meals and accommodation in respect of workshop participants are incurred. These are obviously not administrative costs. The $38 586 referred to relate to administrative and per capita grants paid out to
registered institutions which have elderly persons as per the number of inmates.
Therefore, it should be clear that the amount availed by treasury went towards the welfare of the elderly,” stated the ministry officials .
In her response and evaluation of the ministry response, Chiri stated that it does not make sense to have more funds going toward administration as opposed to the intended beneficiaries.
“It is appreciated that some funds went towards Older Persons Fund Board workshops, however the 61 to 39 percentage ratio of administrative expenses to per capita grants disbursements is unattainable. More funds should be channeled towards per capita”.