ACKSON Sejani says the effort to resuscitate the economy starts from recovering all our stolen resources.
He hopes that through fast-track courts all “thieves would be rounded up and be made to bring back the money they looted from our treasury”.
“Zambians also want to see a serious assault on corruption given the lip service that the previous government paid to this fight,” Sejani said. “Zambians also want to know how many PF officials, ministers and ordinary cadres suddenly got so rich without a traceable source of income.”
He said the pronouncement by President Hakainde Hichilema, before Parliament on Friday, that his government intends to introduce specialised fast- track stolen assets recovery mechanisms and courts for corruption and economic crimes is most welcome.
Sejani said majority Zambians have received the pronouncement with both hands because they are seriously and genuinely interested to know how the PF government, in particular, utilised national resources during their reign.
“Maybe such mechanisms and courts will help unravel the paradox of how a highly indebted country such as Zambia could still be wallowing in such deep levels of poverty and underdevelopment,” he said. “Under Mr Lungu’s government Zambia over borrowed to the tune of over $12 billion conservatively put while other estimates put this figure much higher indeed. When you borrow to levels that the former government borrowed you naturally expect to see a certain level of development that justifies this indebtedness.”
Sejani said Zambians were looking around to see “where all this borrowed money was invested and they are rightly not satisfied with what they see”. “A couple of substandard flyover bridges and expensively quoted road repairs in Lusaka do not provide satisfactory answers to questions being asked by citizens. Where did the borrowed money go? Is the glaring gap between the high debt and the relative lack of corresponding development explained by theft and corruption? These questions need answers and urgent answers for that matter and that is the reason many Zambians are excited about this presidential pronouncement,” he noted. “To many Zambians this borrowing became a conduit for massive corruption and therefore would like to know how projects such as the Lusaka-Ndola dual carriageway and the Michael Sata toll gate got the type of quotations that they got.”
He stressed that Zambians also want to see a serious assault on corruption given the lip service that the previous government paid to “this fight”.
“Former president Lungu never allowed institutions mandated to fight corruption to do their jobs. In fact, at one time, he openly attacked the Anti-Corruption Commission accusing it of fighting him. This public attack on the ACC surprised many people who began to wonder whether to fight corruption meant fighting the head of state as well. Was corruption synonymous with Lungu? Were they Siamese twins, Zambians wondered!” he noted. “Similar attacks were also levelled at the Financial Intelligence Centre. The sum total of all these attacks was to render these oversight institutions moribund. Thus the nation never saw any investigations on scandals such as the 48 owner- less houses, the 42 fire tenders, the ambulances, COVID-19 funds, expired drugs and leaking condoms, honeybee and many other corruption smelling scandals that occurred under Mr Lungu’s watch. It is our hope that through these fast track courts all thieves would be rounded up and be made to bring back the money they looted from our treasury.”