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Jesuit Scholars in Zambia Urge Follow-up of Initiated Government Projects, Accountability

Members of the Zambia-based Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) have called on the government of their host nation to carry out the follow-up phase of previously initiated development projects and ensure accountability in all sectors of the economy. 

In a press statement sent to ACI Africa Thursday, November 26, the leadership of JCTR’s Social and Economic Development Program note that the follow-up phase is important now as the country is experiencing many socio-economic challenges. 

“The nation currently faces many socio-economic challenges. The need to ensure adequate accountability mechanisms and follow on actions, therefore, remains critical in curbing the misuse of government resources,” JCTR leadership says in the November 24 statement signed by the Social and Economic Development Program Manager, Chama Bowa-Mundia.

The leadership of the Lusaka-based research institution highlights the case of a police station in Zambia’s Northwestern Province that is yet to be completed years after the contractor was paid in full to work on the precinct. 

They disclose, “Findings from a social audit led by the JCTR, revealed that in 2012, the Government engaged a contractor to construct a police station in Chavuma at a cost of K1.3 Million. The contractor later abandoned the site.”

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“Social audit findings further revealed that the contractor was overpaid by K194,732.75 (US$ 9,267),” JCTR officials say and continue, “According to the 2019 yellow book, a further K450, 000 (US$ 21,415) was allocated to the police station even though the initial K1.3 Million had been paid to the contractor in full.”

To date, the officials lament, “the people of Chavuma and surrounding areas only have access to police services from one police station situated at Chingi border, which is over 11 kilometers from the Central Business District (CBD).”

As a way forward, JCTR officials call on the Edgar Lungu-led government, through the Ministry of Infrastructure Development, to “make certain that work is completed with all the features befitting a district police station in place in order to guarantee that the people of Chavuma and surrounding areas have access to quality police services and security.”

They also demand that the contractor who had been engaged in 2012 be brought to book for failing to honor the terms of the contract.

“Government security wings must get to the bottom of the matter with regards to the overpayments to the engaged contractor,” they say.

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The JCTR scholars recommend that “information pertaining to all the funds that have been channeled to the Chavuma Police Station project from inception to date are made public with adequate justifications provided, so as to hold accountable the various stakeholders involved in the project.”