GREGORY Chifire says the arrest of health minister Chitalu Chilufya is neither surprising nor inspiring in the fight against corruption because Zambians already know what will come out of this case.
And Pharmaceutical Society of Zambia has asked President Edgar Lungu to relieve Dr Chilufya from his duties to allow smooth investigation without intimidations.
Chifire, who is Southern African Network Against Corruption (SANAC) director, said it was an open secret that Dr Chilufya’s case would result in either a nolle prosequi or a suspicious acquittal.
He said the Anti-Corruption Commission has been turned into a ‘River Jordan’ that cleanses politicians of their modern day leprosy called corruption.
“The arrest of Dr Chilufya is simply an act designed to cleanse him of all corruption charges. If Zambians think that there will be anything positive that will come from this arrest, they better start thinking again,” Chifire said, in a statement.
He said Dr Chilufya and his boss, President Lungu, have no iota of shame.
He said President Lungu and Dr Chilufya’s conscience were seared with a hot iron.
Chifire said any sensible human being was expected to resign when charged with a criminal offence but unfortunately it was not so with PF leaders.
He said Zambians should not be fooled as the arrest of ministers like Dr Chilufya was a mere public relations stunt brewed and fermented at State House because President Lungu was the master brewer of corruption.
“[It’s] like all of them are born from one parent. They thrive in criminality. State House has been turned into a brewery for corruption. All the people connected to State House are drunk with corruption. That is why there is no single individual in the PF who does not pride in corruption. In fact, the closer one is to the master brewer, the more drunk they become in corruption,” he said.
Chifire said every right thinking Zambian had cause to worry for the country.
“The other day it was [then housing and infrastructure minister Ronald] Chitotela, yesterday [Wednesday] it was [former President Lungu’s press aide] Amos Chanda, today it is Chilufya. And we don’t know who it will be tomorrow,” he said. “All of them close associates of Lungu. The interpretation of this scenario is left to anyone. The Bible has never been wrong. Two people can never walk together unless they agree.”
Chifire said President Lungu was going to do everything possible to protect his bedfellows.
He said the man would use institutions of government to cleanse Dr Chilufya like he had done with Chitotela and others.
“It’s a group of people that have no shame or honour. Actually, a man who is involved in stealing is not worthy of honour. It is a pity that ACC still refers to Chitalu as honourable. A thief can never be and will never be honourable, unless among fellow thieves. A thief is a criminal. He belongs to jail. Chilufya and all his fellows don’t belong among us. They belong to jail. It is a pity that while the rights of the citizens have been suspended, the rights of criminals are still being enhanced,” Chifire said.
He noted that in the PF government, a criminal had more rights than innocent citizens.
Chifire said criminals were actually invited to the dinner table because the one in charge of determining invitations was their fellow.
“Zambians know that Chitalu Chilufya will continue serving as minister. But I must remind him that there are six days for a thief, but one day for the master. Your day is coming. In Zambia, real criminals are set free while those with minor offences are put in jail,” said Chifire. “Look at Chellah Tukuta. He is supposed to be out at home, but instead it is Chilufya and his fellows enjoying freedom after stealing millions from Zambians.”
Dr Chilufya was on Wednesday arrested by the ACC and charged with four counts of being found in possession of property suspected to be proceeds of crime.
He was arrested in accordance with section 71 (1) of the forfeiture of proceeds crimes act number 19 of 2010.
Dr Chilufya was however quickly released on bond in his own recognizance and is expected to appear in court on July 9, 2020.
But Pharmaceutical Society of Zambia president Jerome Kanyika said Dr Chilufya’s arrest showed President Lungu means business in fighting corruption.
He noted that Dr Chilufya’s arrest comes after the President challenged the ACC to step up its work.
“This also vindicates the whistleblowers who have been exposing the unprofessional conduct of the Minister of Health, which has dented the name of the President,” he said.
Kanyika said the ACC should not end on investigating the properties in the Dr Chilufya case but go further to investigate the procurement of drugs in the Ministry of Health which had resulted in serious drug shortages due to lack of involvement of right professionals, the pharmacists in the tendering and procurement process.
He said shortages owing to alleged corruption in the procurement process had been denying poor Zambians access to drugs.
Kanyika urged the ACC to also investigate the recently employment process at Ministry of Health which resulted in pharmacists and pharmacy technologists not being part of the recruitment while the presidential directive was to employ 3,400 health workers.
“We further ask the President to relieve the Minister from his duties to allow smooth investigation without intimidation,” said Kanyika.