DEMOCRATIC Party president Harry Kalaba says it is a matter of time before the “fishy” refund to the State of over K4 million is unpacked.
Kalaba was speaking on Nkani Yathu programme on Kwithu radio in Lusaka on Tuesday, a programme that was concurrently being aired on K FM radio (Mansa) and Mufken radio in Mufulira.
On December 15 last year, Kalaba refunded K60,434.88 to the State, for illegally remaining in office when Parliament was dissolved on May 13, 2016.
Ministers and their deputies remained in office until August 8, 2016, the day the Constitutional Court of Zambia delivered judgment on the contention of whether or not it was legal for them to be in office.
Last week, accountant general Kennedy Musonda, announced, in a statement that 99 per cent of the owed money had been refunded.
Musonda stated that such refunds related to salaries totalling K4,266,664.10, which were paid to Cabinet provincial, and deputy ministers, who served between May and August 2016.
“According to our records, a sum of K4,237,215.74 out of K4,266,664.10 has been refunded. This represents a recovery rate of 99.3 per cent. Therefore, the outstanding amount is now K29,448.36, only,” stated Musonda. “Of the total repaid amount, a sum of K2,570,058.30 was made through bulk deposits while the remaining amount came from individuals. The Ministry of Finance, through my office, will again update the nation once the outstanding amount of K29,448.36 is cleared in full. At that point, hopefully, this matter will be brought to a closure from a treasury point of view.”
But Kalaba reacted that there was no government that was as corrupt as the PF.
“Aba balisebena (these are enmeshed into shame). The private businesspeople they have given government contracts are the ones who have refunded the State, [on behalf of the illegal ministers],” Kalaba said. “Davies Mwila, with his mouth, said it’s pro-PF companies which have decided to pay for government ministers. Kwena Mwila mwaume, atwafwako ukwishiba corruption ilecitika mu PF (Mwila is man enough; he has helped us to understand the corruption going on in the PF).”
He further noted that when the Constitutional Court first ruled “that we were illegally in office, I started keeping an amount to go towards refunding the State.”
“In fact, I served up to K72,000 for that purpose. I sent an aide to Cabinet Office in 2018 to go and find out the amount I was supposed to repay,” he explained. “Since I was foreign minister, I thought the amount due for refund will go up to K80,000, because I was frequently flying out for meetings. I remember I went to Rwanda during that period.”
Kalaba said the person he sent to Cabinet Office was told that ‘we have not yet been guided by the Constitutional Court how the affected ministers are supposed to pay.’
The opposition leader wondered why the pro-PF donors could not bail out the impoverished people in Misisi, in Kanyama, Mtendere townships in Lusaka.
“This is a matter of corruption! Actually, the ACC should summon Davies Mwila for him to say who those donors are. No one can allot a K4 million as a reward to people who get paid, who don’t pay for electricity bills, who don’t pay rentals or any other utility bills. Paying for well-to-do people simply because you love them! There must be something fishy,” said Kalaba. “For your own information, K4 million is K4 billion in the old currency. Anyway, it’s a matter of time before everything around this matter gets to be known by everybody.”