PEOPLE’s Party president Mike Mulongoti says if a lifestyle audit is done on President Edgar Lungu’s press aide Amos Chanda, results will make Zambians “cry day and night”.
On August 24, Chanda claimed that it was not possible for one to steal government funds when they were in public service.
Chanda also said there was nothing strange about him wearing trendy suits because he once worked for the World Bank.
“Look, if you see Amos Chanda with a Rolex watch, the assumption is that he has stolen so much money. [But] do you know that I was a special envoy to a foreign Head of State? It is rude, it’s unacceptable [and] it is undiplomatic to refuse a gift that is given [to you]! But you people will take a picture and say now he is got a Rolex? What do you do in that circumstance? Even I went with a certain copper gift and when you present, you actually don’t know what is in that [parcel]. [But] this is it (shows his wrist watch)!”
Chanda, a former Press Association of Zambia (PAZA) vice-president, told some UNZA students after attending a public talk titled ‘Challenges of democracy in Zambia’ facilitated by the University of Zambia Historical and Archaeological Association and the University of Zambia Political Science Association conducted at the Confucius Institute Multi-purpose Hall.
But Mulongoti, a former information minister, noted that the first thing was that authority was wielded by human beings and could potentially be abused.
“Because of that (tendency to abuse political power), they can abuse their authority and draw money by use of that authority in an abusive manner,” Mulongoti observed.
“So for Amos Chanda to say there is no stealing, what does he mean? There are a lot of ways people in government use to part away with money outside their lawful source of income. All you need to do to establish that kind of financial mischief is conduct what we call a lifestyle audit and just that is enough to see whether a person lives within their income or above their income. If they are not, how are they making it? A lifestyle audit, first of all, will start with [establishing] ‘where do you live? How much are your rentals? What car do you drive? How many are they?’ Also you calculate the fuel usage and whatever bills they incur. I’m sure if a lifestyle audit was done in Zambia, very few people would survive! If Mr Amos Chanda is subjected to a lifestyle audit, I can tell [that] you’ll cry day and night with the result.”
He explained that most people in influential government positions took advantage of their status to engage in impropriety.
“There is also what we call reference power – they peddle influence of saying ‘do this for me and I’ll link you to the President’ or ‘do this for me, I’ll let you get that contract’. Under normal circumstances, no one in government is entitled to payment for that kind of activity. For those who are close to the President, there are some people who want to make donations to the President. They (presidential aides) may receive a donation for the President but they don’t even hand it over [to the President]. The President may not even be aware that there was a donation. There are people who are so close to the President to part away with money and these are things that may be happening,” said Mulongoti.