NASON Msoni says it is “absolutely shameful and redundant” to compare and attempt to contrast government corruption with private sector corruption.
The opposition All People’s Congress leader says no serious government could downplay corruption and assert without any sense of shame that corruption was also happening in the private sector, as though justifying wrongdoing on the part of the corrupt-ridden government.
Addressing journalists at her office in Lusaka last Friday, information minister Dora Siliya said corruption in Zambia was not only in the government but also in the private sector.
The chief government spokesperson indicated that Zambians were obsessed with stories of corruption and must start thinking positively about the country.
Siliya claimed that Zambia was the only country that allowed people to talk about corruption freely.
She added that corruption was not unique to Zambia for it to be the only thing being discussed by the people.
“Zambia’s record, to be honest, in fighting corruption is unparalleled. It’s the only country we keep hearing corruption stories every day. This does not happen in other countries,” claimed Siliya.
“You the media would not even be able to report them (corruption stories). We should be happy with the kind of environment we have in Zambia that these issues can be reported – that we have laws supporting whistle-blowers.”
But Msoni described as “cheek and insolence” for the government spokesperson to assert that Zambia was not the only country where corruption was happening.
“No serious government can downplay corruption and assert, without any sense of shame, that corruption is also happening in the private sector, as though justifying wrongdoing on the part of the corrupt-ridden government,” Msoni said, in a statement availed to The Mast.
“Let’s be very unequivocally clear by saying that stealing from government is actually stealing from taxpayers’ money meant to be used for service delivery to Zambians and therefore, it’s extremely erroneous and misleading to equate the stealing of public funds to those being corruptly stolen in the private sector.”
Msoni stated that what was ‘stolen’ in the private sector, bad as it may be, was not taxpayers’ money.
“It’s absolutely shameful and a redundant comparison to attempt to contrast government corruption with private sector corruption, in that context,” he stated.
“When donors openly express concerns publicly, it means that they too are sick and tired of graft and can longer hide and suffocate under the veil of diplomacy. It should even be more shameful for any self-respecting government to admit wrongdoing and saying we are not the only country that is corrupt. The dominant question should be, which other country is corrupt?”
He added that such corrupt and meaningless statements associated with the government spokesperson spoke to an admission of corruption and wrongdoing in the PF government.
“The grand-scale of corruption scandals happening in Zambia cannot be compared to any other known African country in modern times, save for the corruption that was associated with the late former Nigerian dictator General Sani Abacha,” Msoni stated.
“No serious government can allow indicted suspects to continue clinging on to government portfolios. That does not depict a serious government that is committed in the fight against corruption.”
Meanwhile, Msoni stated that the trashing, by senior government officials, of the demand for a lifestyle audit for ministers and other senior government officials was another admission of guilt, “as many have accumulated wealth beyond their earnings.”
“The recent attacks on the FIC (Financial Intelligence Centre) as an institution by Cabinet ministers and the rubbishing of the trends report cannot be coming from a government that is seriously committed to fighting corruption!” stated Msoni.