The Zambian government has unearthed a scam in which some Pay Point Managers (PPMs) of Social Cash Transfer (SCT) program in Kapiri Mposhi district are deducting money from beneficiaries as transport refund.

Some PPMs, mostly teachers, engaged by government to pay SCT in the ongoing fund disbursement exercise in the rural parts of the district are demanding a sum of 20 Kwacha from each beneficiary to cover their transport costs.

This came to light when District Commissioner, Smart Mwila met over 100 village headmen and villagers of Nkole Chiefdom.

Speaking on behalf of the affected beneficiaries in the area, Goliath Kasempa, 74, complained that some PPMs were declining to pay beneficiaries their money for refusing to contribute a 20 kwacha to cover for their transport costs.

Kasempa implored Mwila to intervene in the matter and ensure that PPMs found wanting were brought to book.

“We don’t know if this is allowed but the people you have sent here to pay us Social Cash Transfer are stealing from us and we want you to help us,” Kasempa said.

But Smart Mwila explained that PPMs were not supposed to demand for transport money from beneficiaries of SCT as they were always paid a Daily Subsistence Allowance (DSA) of K 710 and transport allowance by the department of Social Welfare when being deployed to pay beneficiaries.

Mwila noted that the PPMs action of deducting money from allocations for beneficiaries had potential to negatively affect government’s objective of providing sufficient social protection for the vulnerable through the SCT Programme in the district.

“This is indeed daylight robbery and I can assure you that anyone who will be found wanting will pay back and will be punished accordingly because you don’t steal from the poor,” Mwila said.

Mwila has since directed the department of Social Welfare in the district to identify all the PPMs involved in the scamming of the vulnerable out of their money for further action.

Recently, the government released over K 2, 2 million to pay 6,160 beneficiaries of the SCT programme.

This money is inclusive of people living with disabilities who are being paid K 600 and the aged, chronically ill and child and women headed households who are entitled to K 300 bi-monthly payments respectively.