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I am not corrupt – Lungu

I AM not corrupt, President Edgar Lungu has told Zambians based in New York.

Addressing the Zambians, President Lungu, who is in New York for the UN General Assembly, denied involvement in the procurement of 42 fire engines at a cost of US42 million, which has drawn intense criticism and allegation of corruption.

He said the country had a spate of fires at markets and fire tenders had been procured to help quench infernos.

“And because of the stringent nature of the laws, sometimes ministers get so scared, our government officials get so scared. In the end we fail to make decisions to move the country forward. But me I will not be intimidated by allegations of corruption because I am not corrupt. I am not corrupt. I cannot be intimidated by allegations of corruption,”

President Lungu said.

“If I am going to be intimidated, it means that nothing will move in the country. But when I believe that I am right, I have followed the procedures, I will defend myself and we move forward. So don’t worry too much.”

He said State House does not procure anything.

“The ministries buy through tender procedures and so on, contracts. So we are not involved. So I am interested in finding out; if there is smoke, is there a fire also? And if there is a fire, obviously those charged with the responsibility to bring the culprits to book will do so but I can’t promise anything more than that because ministries run according to procedures, the President’s office also runs as a big ministry,”

President Lungu said.

He said those charged with the task of fighting corruption should also be alive to sentiments going on over the procurements.

“If the people say ‘this is wrong’, they should take it upon themselves to investigate and bring the culprits to book or clear them. It’s not for the President to be defending procurement,”

President Lungu said.

“And I can tell you that I am as blank as you in terms of whether there is truth or not in this [allegation of corruption in the fire tender procurement]. So what is trending on social media sometimes it’s false, sometimes a bit of truth, sometimes the whole truth, so I don’t believe in social media and I can tell you but when you insist that ‘President Lungu, look at this, look at this’, yes, I can look at it. I have heard of this fire tender issue, that we have bought them at exorbitant pricing. Yesterday (Tuesday) somebody was saying in Parliament that my minister was bribed with a 4X4, I don’t know what vehicles…”

He urged Zambians with evidence of any wrongdoing or any acts of corruption to report to the Anti-Corruption Commission.

President Lungu assured that he has never defended any single person or official in government who is involved in fraud or corruption.

“I have never defended anybody and I will not defend anybody. But if people are going to make wild allegations on social media without going to the offices concerned with fighting corruption and saying ‘we have this evidence, can you follow it up’. I can’t do much other than convince you and tell you that I have also heard what you have heard, but if there is truth in this, I will ask my people to follow it up,”

he said.

President Lungu said reporting to investigative agencies with evidence was the only way the officers would be encouraged to work.

He said there was a time when people were scared of working because of corruption accusations.

“[But] I said just work because this job…you have made decisions, you make a decision to buy certain things, follow the procedures, they will say bakudyesako; if you don’t do it, people are suffering, they will say ‘why are they delaying procurement chemicals’ for example; we need chemicals for water treatment and then somebody says ‘no you cannot buy because they are very expensive’. We ask him show us where they are cheaper, they don’t show you but because of that, the minister fails to work, the PS fails to work and in the end, we don’t have the chemicals we want to treat water. I think it’s a very difficult situation to be where we are,”

President Lungu said.

He said he knew that every procurement raised questions but it was up to those who had genuine evidence of wrongdoing to come to the front and help the government investigate the matter.

President Lungu said complaints of corruption mostly came from those that lost out on tenders.

2 Comments

  1. KENNY G

    September 22, 2017 at 5:50 am

    Kaili all govt items must be accounted for especially when it becomes for buying public things like the wack fire engines.

  2. Lungu failed project

    September 21, 2017 at 11:33 am

    The biggest liar

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