NASON Msoni says intimidating whistleblowers is seldom good politics and is tantamount to cowing potential whistleblowers into silence.
He was commenting on President Edgar Lungu’s remarks during the swearing-in of board of commissioners of the Anti-Corruption Commission at State House on Thursday where he said his government had been branded and framed as corrupt by detractors whose major intention was not just to shroud the successes but to paint it black.
President Lungu complained of “what is slowly becoming a Zambian culture of framing and branding each other negatively.”
He said his government does not tolerate or condone corruption because graft of any kind was costly to the country and the citizens.
He said corruption, whenever it rears its ugly head should be nipped in the bud.
“My government and I have been branded and framed as corrupt by our detractors whose major intention is not just to shroud the successes that my government has scored in developing the country, but whose aim is to paint my government black so that citizens turn against me and my government,” he said.
“Opposition parties, that you are aware of, in cahoots with some civil society organisations have hatched a sustained campaign to brand and frame my administration as corrupt and they believe the international community will listen to them and finance their campaign once they scream the corruption frames. We all know that some public officers have been found wanting, not only at ministerial level but in the civil service, and we have parted company, but our detractors are the first to embrace those that leave my administration in a true spirit of the enemy of my enemy is a friend.”
President Lungu said it was clear “from the baseless demonstrations we are seeing on Saturday that our detractors have upped their game to please their sponsors, less so the Zambian people in whose interest we serve”.
“As President and lawyer by profession, as much as I want corruption to be annihilated in Zambia, I would not like innocent people to be accused of corruption and left to suffer the shame for the rest of their lives,” he said. “This trend of framing innocent people, especially through social media, needs to be stopped to protect innocent people. As a matter of fact, the Anti-Corruption Act states that false accusers are supposed to be prosecuted themselves. Whistleblowers are welcome but if they make false, frivolous or groundless complaints or allegations, they endanger their own freedom. This is not a threat; it is a fact of law.”
President Lungu urged the commissioners to be aware of “this new culture of frames and help the Anti-Corruption Commission to build capacities that will not just help with successful prosecutions but will save the courts time by not crucifying the innocent.”
But Msoni stated that a good leader committed to fighting graft should instead commend efforts of patriotic citizens for alerting law enforcement officers before or after crime is committed.
He said the allegations of corruption leveled against specific individuals in the PF government was not malicious but had been confirmed by the indictment in the FIC report.
“It is futile effort for those accused of grand corruption to be demanding for more evidence from the public when the indictment is very clear in the FIC report and the Auditor General’s report. Corruption in this government is public knowledge and all other money extortion contracts are very well known by the Zambian public,” Msoni stated.
“The attack on those denouncing corruption in government by the President does not demonstrate the necessary political will needed to fight high level graft.
It is in the interest of those cited for corruption to ensure that they insulate their families from involvement in graft.”
Msoni stated that the shopping spree of properties and the building of shopping malls locally and internationally was well documented and was not backed by any tangible legitimate businesses.
“This is suspect by any means Warranting investigations,” he stated.
“Our unsolicited counsel to the mastermind of grand corruption in government is that insulate your families before it is too late from the crimes you are committing or risk them going down with you,” stated Msoni, president of the All People’s Congress.
“The law seemingly might appear dormant at the moment but be assured that not too distant in the future, these very laws which appear useless will certainly come alive to haunt you and your families for all the transgressions you are committing with impunity against the Zambian people.”