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LOBAMBA - In an unprecedented appearance, the Citizenship Board led by former Private Secretary to the King, Paul Shabangu, yesterday appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to explain why they had allegedly received sitting allowances yet there were no meetings held.

Shabangu and the six other members of the board, who include Chief Mkhumbi, Princess Kwatiwako and Reverend Griffiths Dlamini, are alleged to have received about E26 000 yet the claims were not documented.
Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs Anthony Masilela quickly admitted before the PAC that the whole mess was the ministry’s fault and stated that they had met with the Board and briefed it that they had been irregularly paid and the Board members had since undertaken to repay the money.

In response to the missing supporting documents, the Board secretary, Wilson Nkambule, said some of the missing documentation dated back to 2013/2014.
He said most of the minutes were taken manually in an old-fashioned way which in vernacular he said “besisebenta sintfu”.

Nkambule said they had tried to look for the minutes, but to no avail and as a result he had no choice but to apologise on behalf of the ministry and board. PAC member Manzini North Member of Parliament (MP) Jan Sithole said it was shocking that there were missing documents, even if the minutes had been taken manually. He said the days of typewriters had long gone and, as a result, some of the minutes had to be saved in one of the computers.
Manzini South MP Owen Nxumalo said if the Board had agreed to pay back the E26 000, it was an admission of sorts that they had received money yet they had not attended any meeting. Meanwhile, chairperson of the PAC appointed MP Thuli Dladla said it was not only the Board’s duty to repay the money, but also the secretary needed to be surcharged for dereliction of duty.

However, Nkambule said he was not comfortable with deductions being made from him, particularly since he was not the secretary at the time the transactions were made.
Dladla advised Nkambule to bring evidence to the effect that he was not the officer in charge at the time the minutes went missing.
Speaking on behalf of the Board, Shabangu said the missing minutes were actually supposed to be reports written by the secretary as they had carried out site inspections. “We sometimes go and inspect the businesses of the people who apply for citizenship,” said Shabangu.

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