MAJOR Richard Kachingwe says Parliament should consider enacting a law that makes corruption a non-bailable offence.
Maj Kachingwe says the corrupt are equivalent to murderers.
He regretted that the “chaps” arrested on corruption allegations already have money and taking them to court, somewhat, was an academic exercise.
Maj Kachingwe, a former MMD national secretary, was commenting on the arrest by Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) of former Zambia Air Force (ZAF) commander Lieutenant General Eric Chimese, along with Chita Lodges Limited director James Chungu, for allegedly concealing properties suspected to be proceeds of crime.
Among the ‘concealed’ properties are 13 fully furnished lavish flats in Lusaka’s Ibex Hill area.
“First of all, I would like to congratulate DEC (Drug Enforcement Commission) for what it is doing, though too little too late. We need them to do more! Merely arresting one side of the story does not help the situation,” Maj Kachingwe said in an interview.
“The former Air force commander must have colluded with some companies or institutions that supply expensive equipment to the Air force. We need to nip it in the bud so that these corrupt people start fearing.”
Maj Kachingwe said arresting Chimese alone does not solve the problem.
Maj Kachingwe, a former high commissioner to Nigeria, hoped the Anti-Corruption Commission could become more aggressive at fighting corruption.
“They are supposed to be more aggressive. They are not serving the Zambian people. I have a problem also with the mandate holders of the Anti-Corruption Commission. At best, they should be disbanded! Why should the Drug Enforcement Commission start arresting [people involved in] corruption cases when the Anti-Corruption Commission is seated idle there!” he complained.
“In fact, I would want to suggest that Parliament enacts a stringent law that corruption should not even be bailable and that there be speedy trial for corruption. The corrupt have money. They end up paying their way through; they corrupt the lawyers, corrupt the judicial system and you’ll find that the people who are supposed to adjudicate on cases are the ones who punch holes in the cases so that they (accused) are freed. They have money to spend!”
And Maj Kachingwe underscored that the fight against corruption needed a holistic approach because it was a cost to the nation.
“People die [as victims of corruption]. The corrupt are murderers because instead of hospitals having medicines, selfish people would have chewed the money. There are two sides to corruption; the giver and the given. These (the givers) must be arrested as well. Don’t just arrest the given and say ‘we have achieved something,’” said Maj Kachingwe.
“We are saying let them (law enforcement agencies) do more. We know what is happening! There is also a tendency of targeting politicians [but] it’s not even the politicians who are corrupt. There are directors who evaluate the contracts in hotels at night. These are people who must be followed; there must be an aggressive approach in the fight against corruption. You target one or two politicians [but] you leave the directors – the people who work on the paper work! These are the ones who have built mansions all over which are not commensurate to their income.”