By AARON CHIYANZO
GOVERNMENT has replaced McPherson Chanda as Zambia Postal Services Corporation (ZAMPOST) Postmaster General after putting him on a six-month suspension to pave way for investigations into alleged misapplication of social cash transfer funds.
Minister of Transport and Communication Brian Mushimba confirmed in an interview yesterday the replacement of Mr Chanda and named Brighton Ngoma as the new Postmaster General.
Mr Ngoma was the executive director at Cavendish University before his appointment to head ZAMPOST.
Mr Mushimba also said that three more people were added to the ZAMPOST Board to strengthen it.
“At ZAMPOST, changes have been made at management level, Mr Brighton Ngoma is now the new Postmaster General.
We have also infused in three names in the Board,” he said.
And Mr Mushimba said that ZAMPOST should immediately collect about K20 million owed by its clients and clear salary arrears as government would not bail out the firm.
He said, however, that government had committed K50 million, which would be released within the first quarter of 2019, to the short term recapitalization of ZAMPOST.
The money meant for recapitalisation should not be used to pay salary arrears as ZAMPOST had the potential to recover from its current challenges, he said.
He said ZAMPOST could clear all its salary arrears from the K20 million it was owed by its clients once collected and that Government would help in recovering the money.
Mr Mushimba disclosed that of the K20 million owed to ZAMPOST, K13 million was owed by the government while K 7 million was owed by the private sector.
“The ministry offered and I hope ZAMPOST has taken the ministry up on this one that we help them collect this K13 million from government ministries and agencies at the point of source.
If for example, ZAMTEL owes ZAMPOST, there is a point of source that as government we see the money before ZAMTEL. So the money can be taken at that point,” he said.
He also said Government was helping ZAMPOST to repair its broken relationships with clients who were helping it thrive. ZAMPOST was at the centre of a massive graft scandal after it was engaged by the Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare to manage a multimillion Kwacha Social Cash Transfer scheme to give money vulnerable people in the country.
An audit of the scheme by the Auditor General’s Office showed that ZAMPOST diverted some of the money to its use instead of paying the beneficiaries.
The audit also showed that ZAMPOST was paid 10 percent of the entire budget fund as management fees, which was against donor guidelines.