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REVISIT FAITH AMNESTY…it’s a dangerous precedent – Chifire

WE join the chorus of many Zambians who do not agree with the route that the law enforcement agencies have taken because it has created a dangerous precedent giving an escape route for criminals, says Gregory Chifire.

His statement follows the Anti-Corruption Commission’s revelation that Faith Musonda, the woman behind the K65 million and US $57,900 saga, had surrendered the suspected loot to the State in exchange for her freedom.

The State has also taken possession of the house in which the money was found.

In a media statement, Anti-Corruption Commission public relations officer Jonathan Siame said the possession follows the conclusion of investigations by a joint investigative team from ACC, the Drug Enforcement Commission, Zambia Police and the Financial Intelligence Centre.
But Chifire, the Southern Africa Network against Corruption (SANAC) director, urged the law enforcement agencies to reconsider their decision as it has sent a very low key in the fight against corruption.

He said there must be no sacred cows as everyone must be treated equally.

“Yes, we agree that it is the law, but there are many people who have been prosecuted without being offered amnesty. Why Faith Musonda’s case being treated special? The outcome of this case has left a bitter taste in the mouth of citizens who are the owners of the money,” Chifire said. “It is an undisputable fact that Faith had no capacity to acquire wealth of that magnitude. What has surprised us is the route that the law enforcement agencies have taken.”

He said Zambians demand to know the true benefactors of those properties and money.
The exiled human rights activist advised against treating Musonda’s matter with secrecy as if trying to protect the identity of criminals.

“Let the law enforcement agencies tell us who has been working with Faith.

This decision by the law enforcement agencies that…disclosed the source of the ill-gotten possessions has exposed the inequality in the criminal justice system and has thrown the fight against corruption and theft of public resources into serious jeopardy as a dangerous precedent has been set,” he noted.

Chifire said SANAC’s view was that section 80 of the anti-corruption Act number 3 of 2012 should be repealed forthwith because it gives room for criminals to walk to freedom on simple condition that they disclose how the stolen money or property got into their possession.

He said it was a pity that someone involved in criminal activities had been let free with ease, while petty thieves that have stolen things as little as a bottle of cooking oil meant to feed their families were made to rot in jail.

Chifire charged Faith would continue to enjoy not only her freedom “but also money and other valuables hidden elsewhere”.

He said Faith’s case was a serious indictment on the law enforcers.

Chifire said Zambians were desirous to see that justice was meted out on all who stole their money and not entertain comical agreements.

“The fight against those that stole public money is not a circus. The law enforcement agencies must treat the cases with utmost seriousness by securing convictions so as to deter would be offenders,” said Chifire.

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