THE PF has come to steal, kill and destroy, says UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma.
Reacting to the theft of ARVs and HIV diagnosis kits at Medical Store Limited worth over a million dollars, UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma stated that within three years of President Edgar Lungu and the PF’s reign, Zambians had witnessed corruption and theft in unbelievable proportions.
“Within three a few years of Patriotic Front (PF) rule, Zambians have witnessed corruption and theft of public resources in ways that are simply unbelievable. The nation has witnessed blatant theft of forty two million dollars through the purchase of substandard fire tenders. The 40 ill-feted fire tenders were purchased at US$1m each but were each insured locally at a value of US$250,000, thereby exposing the theft. A serving minister was reported to have received three high value vehicles in what is clearly appreciation for facilitating the theft. No action has been taken against the minister. Instead, Zambians have been told to bring evidence; to get evidence from those who stole and present it to them,” Kakoma stated.
“Again, the nation experienced theft of public resources through purchase of ambulances by the Ministry of Health at ridiculously high prices of US$280,000 per unit. Those responsible tried to give a very childish explanation that the base (chassis) is Mercedes Benz while the body is that of Toyota Land Cruiser. Well, God is very gracious to Zambians, it did not take long before the Swedish government donated similar ambulances at almost three times less than the cost of the ones the corrupt PF government purchased. Again no one was punished. Why? Because it’s field day for them to steal. They are clearly like monkeys in a banana field.”
He also stated that millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money had been stolen through corrupt road constructions like the Lusaka-Ndola dual carriageway project and the airports being constructed which were over-priced because of corruption.
Kakoma charged that it appeared PF’s desire to steal was not enough as seen from the continued trend.
“As if that is not enough, again, under this very regime, millions of dollars worth of HIV equipment and drugs donated by the Global Fund and other donors have been stolen! To be precise, about US$1m has been stolen. A Global Fund forensic audit covering the period from 2014 to 2017 uncovered losses that include: 5,790 HIV test kits valued at US$416,379 (7.5 per cent of total Global Fund-financed kits delivered between 2014 and 2016) and 67,967 bottles of antiretrovirals (ARVs) valued at US$423,209 (2.6 per cent of total Global Fund-financed ARVs delivered between 2014 and 2016); 11,442 artemisinin-based combination therapy packs (ACTs) valued at US$214,486 (2.4% of total Global Fund-financed ACTs delivered between 2014 and 2016); 2,521 malaria rapid diagnostic test kits (MRDTs) valued at US$10,714 (1.7% of total Global Fund-financed kits delivered between 2014 and 2016),” Kakoma stated.
“Now this is evil. It is clear now that these guys are for stealing, killing and destroying. They will stop at nothing to steal. If it means killing, they will kill. It is as though stealing is their lifeblood. Clearly, millions of our lovely people who depend on the life-serving drugs are at grave risk. Should donors withdraw their support, the poor Zambian will be at the receiving end.”
He stated that “the PF thieves” had stolen enough to take them to the best of medical facilities, and at taxpayers’ cost, for attention.
Kakoma also rubbished the explanation by health minister Chitalu Chilufya that the government took a proactive action over the theft at Medical Stores Ltd.
He stated that like all explanations the PF had given to previous thefts, UPND “will not accept this one.”
“We are told that seven people, some of them workers at Medical Stores Limited and two Congolese, have been arrested and are appearing in court. But where are the masterminds of the theft? Whatever action they are claiming to have taken, including their appearance in court, was hidden, which is characteristic of shady characters like these PF thieves,” Kakoma stated.
“Why were they hiding such grave thefts if they themselves were not involved in one way or the other? All measures they are talking about will amount to nothing as long as this stealing gang remains in charge.”
He further stated that it was more annoying that it is the Zambian poor that would pay back the stolen funds.
“And it is annoying to be told with a straight face that Zambia will pay back the US$1m to the Global Fund as if it will be forked out of their pockets. Zambians, in short, will pay back. No no no, spare Zambians; they have suffered enough at the hands of this regime. Zambians cannot be made to fund their lavish lifestyles plus their corruption. All of us can help ensure taxpayers’ money is safeguarded,” Kakoma stated.
He stated that if top leaders were not involved in the thefts, then there was serious dereliction of duty.
“The watchman is sleeping on duty and needs no other chance,” stated Kakoma. “These leaders must be held to account for their sins of omissions and commissions against Zambians. In government, the UPND will pursue the thieves and recover what they have stolen. There will be serious accounting of their wealth and any failure to account will result in repossessions and forfeiture of properties to the State to save as a warning. The UPND will uphold the principles of transparency and accountability in administration,” stated Kakoma.