THE Office of the Auditor General has set up a toll free hotline (5566) which will enable whistleblowers across the country to report financial irregularities in a timely and convenient manner.
The Auditor General Dick Sichembe said the toll free hotline would provide a platform for the public and other stakeholders to report issues of concern with regard to the management of public resources which his office will follow up to examine from the audit perspective.
Speaking in Lusaka yesterday during the launch of the initiative, Mr. Sichembe said the hotline would not only enhance audit reporting but would also promote transparency and accountability.
He said both tax and non tax paying citizens should take keen interest in the management of public resources by reporting any suspicious activities related to financial management with regard to projects, programs and activities using the toll free hotline.
“I therefore encourage all citizens to participate in the efforts of promoting prudent management of public resources. This is because citizens live in communities where Government projects, programs and activities are implemented,” Mr. Sichembe said.
He said the task of promoting accountability and transparency in management of public resources cannot be undertaken entirely by the office of the Auditor General alone hence the need to collaborate with citizens.
Mr. Sichembe also warned that his office would not relent to expose and bring to account controlling officers and any other public officer in a habit of mismanaging public resources.
He said the toll free line number (5566) was active on two mobile phone networks which included Zamtel and MTN while plans were underway to bring Artel on board.
Mr. Sichembe said the call center would operational from Monday to Saturday from 08:00 to 17:00 hours and that all informers or callers would be allowed to remain anonymous if they wished to.
“The office will devise a mechanism of giving feedback to informers or callers who choose not to remain anonymous on how the cases are progressing. This will be done so as to encourage more members of the public to report cases,” he said.
Head of Development Cooperation at the Embassy of Sweden in Lusaka Susanna Hughes said fighting corruption as a development obstacle was high on the Swedish International development corporation agenda.
Ms. Hughes said Sweden considered ensuring transparent and accountable management of resources and integrity in public life and fight against corruption to be fundamental to economic growth and development in Zambia.