Chishimba Kambwili has described the appointment of George Chilengwa Siame as Board Chairman of the Financial Intelligence Centre, scandalous and criminal.
Meanwhile, President Edgar Lungu has revoked Siame’s appointment, a day after announcing it.
Kambwili, the National Democratic Congress president, said he had learnt with sadness Siame’s appointment by President Lungu.
“The nation will recall that this is the same Siame who left the country in total shock a few years ago with his brutal assault on a helpless woman colleague at the Zambia Revenue Authority,” Kambwili said.
“Yesterday (Tuesday) Mr Siame was rewarded for his violence and criminality which Mr Sata fired him for. In his usual style of leadership, Mr Lungu has found it fit to appoint him through the Minister of Finance as the Chairman of one of our most important and strategic intelligence wings in Zambia today. The whole world has been applauding our FIC for its brilliant work but Mr Lungu in his own so-called wisdom has found it fit to replace a winning team.”
Kambwili said Siame’s appointment represented a complete assault on women in Zambia, especially “in this age where our women have come under serious attack and need our collective protection more than ever”.
“I wish to remind you my fellow citizens that while this may seem to a few of our citizens as a one off mistake made by this government, a scrutiny of Mr Lungu’s appointees shows a clear pattern of appointment of individuals to sensitive portfolios with criminal associations and questionable characters,” he said.
“It is a fact that President Lungu elevated individuals such State House permanent secretary Christable Kalulu to her current portfolio while appearing in court facing allegations of graft while individuals such as Kaizer Zulu, Bowman Lusambo, Steven Kampyongo and many others in his government are well known for criminal acts and yet form critical cornerstones of this Presidency. It is on record that this is the same President that found it fit to pardon a violent statutory rapist to appease party functionaries and interests.”
Kambwili said in all this, President Lungu saw no problem whatsoever with his continued association with questionable and criminal elements, some of whom were now persons of interests on the international grand stage.
“Our President will not even accord, we the citizens he presides over, the courtesy of disassociating himself from such known criminal elements but instead embraces them as his so called ‘friends’,” Kambwili said.
“While I am saddened by yesterday’s events which will completely discredit and seriously undermine our intelligence network, especially in the fight against high value financial crimes which this government has many experts on, I am not shocked and expect the next course of action of the new board of the Financial Intelligence Centre to either terminate the services of the FIC Director Mary Chirwa or not to renew her contract when it comes to an end as this government finds it intolerable to work hand in hand with honest and incorruptible men and women. Again this is a well documented subject,” he said.
“In line with our mandate as a responsible political party, I will be instructing the relevant members of our central committee and our secretary general, Mrs Bridget Atanga, to write to the Public Protector to investigate the appointment of not only Mr Siame as Board Chairman but the entire board as a means of vetting their suitability to such a sensitive board mandated to oversee one of our very crucial intelligence agencies.”
Kambwili said in the event that they do not obtain any answers from the Public Protector or get a completely unsatisfactory answer, they would thoroughly pursue all relevant legal avenues, including a court action to ensure the immediate removal of Siame to protect women and the public at large against his criminality and those whose interests he had been appointed to serve.
Later in the day, President Lungu’s special assistant for press and public relations Isaac Chipampe stated that the Head of State had written to Siame informing him of the immediate revocation of his appointment.
The President wished Siame well.