The UK government has frozen direct financial aid to the Zambian government over concerns about corruption.

The Zambian government admitted that US$4.3 million meant for poor families had gone missing.

The move follows allegations of corruption within President Edgar Lungu’s administration.

The UK takes a “zero-tolerance approach to fraud and corruption”, the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID) said in a statement.

Ireland, Finland and Sweden have also suspended aid.

The money had gone missing from the Social Cash Transfer programme, which allocates money that is paid directly to the poorest, confirmed Zambia President Edgar Lungu’s spokesperson Mr Amos Chanda.

It is reported that the alleged multi-million fraud involves the creation of shell companies and the diversion of money meant for poorer families.

The alleged corruption has affected Zambia’s health, education and local government ministries, it is reported.

The aid suspension comes as Zambia’s debt levels are coming under increasing scrutiny.

The UK government has not confirmed the amount of aid that has been affected.

The International Monetary Fund has said that it has suspended lending to the country as it is worried that its debt is unsustainable.

-BBC