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Kambwili urges ACC to probe other ministers

ALL those who have been stealing will be brought to book, Lesa nimalyotola, alinganya napafyo tuchita (God is the greatest avenger), says Chishimba Kambwili.

Manwhile, Actionaid Zambia says it stands by its earlier appeal on the need for a lifestyle audit of all public officials to ascertain if the wealth accumulated matches their incomes.

Commenting on the arrest of infrastructure minister Ronald Chitotela by the Anti-Corruption Commission on Tuesday, Kambwili said he felt vindicated that his statements that ministers were involved in massive plunder had come to pass.

On Tuesday the Anti-Corruption Commission arrested Chitotela and charged with two counts of concealing property suspected of being proceeds of crime.

According to ACC assistant public relations manager Dorothy Mwanza, Chitotela had concealed two plots in Makeni and another in Ibex Hill under the names Diris Mukange between the July, 2016 and October 2018.

Kambwili said he had been consistent stating that a number of PF ministers had amassed so much wealth which was not commensurate with their income.

“God cannot be cheated, all those who have been stealing and plundering the resources of the country will be brought to book pantu Lesa nimalyotola. This is what I have been talking about,” Kambwili said. “I have said there is rampant corruption in this government but people think I have been joking. We want the Anti-Corruption Commission to go further, we want them to probe Chitalu Chilufya as well and find out were he is getting the money he is donating…donating Marcopolo buses, giving K600,000 in the constituency,” Kambwili said.

Kambwili, the PF rebel Roan member of parliament, insisted that the Anti-Corruption Commission should also probe President Edgar Lungu’s Political Advisor Kaizar Zulu and Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations Amos Chanda because they had become very rich overnight.

“They must also probe Kaizar Zulu; where he is gotten his money. Amos Chanda where he has also gotten his money. They should also probe Freedom Sikazwe who also has accumulated so much money that he can even brand millie-meal bags to his name. I am vindicated but I think it’s not enough. We need some more people to be investigated. There has to be an audit, lifestyle audit for these ministers. They have been enjoying stolen money over our sweat, all of them must be checked and brought to book,” Kambwili said.

“There are more people that the Anti-Corruption Commission must follow, like I have said we want to find out what’s going on over the procurement of drugs at the Ministry of Health…where it’s alleged that the minister has now become the procurement officer for drugs. These allegations are pointing to something that can be proved…look here somebody who can buy a Marcopolo bus at K500,000 and donate it as a community bus in the constituency when his salary is K25,000 a month, less taxes its K18 – 17,000 while Mr Sikazwe, there’s nothing that he does rather than dancing and smiling. Can you make money out of dancing and smiling when the President just makes a little joke? We also want Mr Sikazwe to tell us where he has gotten money. All these people must tell us. A lifestyle audit must be taken because this rampant corruption is counterproductive to the country,” Kambwili said.

He said people must take him extremely serious when he says something.

“I always talk about the thieving in this government and here we are. This is the beginning of the end and I know that more will be arrested. What I don’t like is people messing up the PF which we had sweated for to create.”

And Actionaid acting country director Jeston Lunda said while acknowledging that having wealth acquired genuinely was not bad at all, acquiring wealth through theft of public resources hinders many Zambians a chance for a better life.

Lunda has commended the Anti-Corruption Commission for showing commitment towards the fight against corruption.

“[On Tuesday] the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) arrested and charged Minister of Infrastructure and Housing Honourable Ronald Chitotela with corruption for allegedly concealing proceeds of crime. The latest move by the ACC shows that the institution is making efforts in the fight against corruption. While the arrest of a top-ranking government official may send a strong signal in the fight against corruption, we, however, urge ACC to do more and urgently act on all reported corruption cases,” he said.

Lunda said there had been a lot of revelations of financial irregularities and corruption in the recent past.

“A case in point is the findings in the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) Trends report of 2017, which made damning revelations of how suspected corruption represented 39 per cent of the total number of reports received in 2017. This is an extremely alarming rate! Additionally, the value of transactions involved over K6.3 billion of the total value of cases analysed,” he recalled.

“Unfortunately, we have not heard much from ACC on progress made in dealing with these cases highlighted by the FIC in its 2017 report. We believe that ACC, as an investigative body, must proactively take interest in corruption cases brought out by other institutions and investigate them to the letter. They mustn’t wait to be told what to do; their role is to investigate corruption and that duty must be extended to all regardless of one’s standing in society. And the ACC must do this without any fear at all because that is their mandate.”

Lunda further observed that through the FIC Trends reports, some ways in which procurement corruption was taking place which involves the collusion between Politically Exposed Persons (PEP) and vendors or suppliers were exposed.

He said the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct requires a member to declare interest in relation to a government contract with a private firm, specifying the nature and extent of his or her interest.

Lunda said the findings in the FIC report shows that there was a violation of the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct in this regard.

“Lastly, we stand by our earlier appeal on the need for a lifestyle audit of all public officials to ascertain if the wealth accumulated matches their incomes. While we acknowledge that having wealth acquired genuinely is not bad at all, acquiring wealth through theft of public resources hinders many Zambians a chance for a better life. It is such theft of public resources that compelled Dr Kenneth Kaunda’s government to establish the SITET, which kept public officials from businesses to avoid misuse of public funds,” he said. “We therefore are of the belief that having similar structures charged with the responsibility of monitoring ministers and other public officials’ dealings will greatly minimise misuse of the already meagre resources of this country.”

Lunda said because of corruption, public schools were starved of needed learning materials, equipment and infrastructure for teachers.

“Because of corruption, thousands of citizens, especially women and children, are dying because of lack of access to proper healthcare,” said Lunda.

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