Zambia president Edgar Lungu has resolved to fire all corrupt ministers in his government.
“I urge all Ministers and Civil Servants to resist the temptation of engaging in corruption. We have a bigger course to serve, our people,” Lungu said in a powerful statement.
He added: “I will not tolerate corruption in my government, very soon I will be firing some Ministers in national and public interest.”
Transparency International Zambia has since thrown its weight behind President Edgar Lungu on the need to take firm action on cases of corruption in Zambia.
TIZ has for a long time bemoaned lack of action from Law Enforcement agencies such as the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), said Charles Chulu, TIZ information Officer.
Chulu said there are a lot of simple and straightforward cases that the ACC ought to take action but most of the times they remain mute for long periods of time.
“It is gratifying that the President has admitted that there is corruption within the rank and file of his government.”
TIZ said it feels vindicated from the Presidents statement since the country has continued to lose huge sums of money at the expense of disgruntled and incompetent Ministers and Public officials who have continued to amass wealth at the expense of poor Zambians who vote for them in the first place.
For instance, the former Director Zambia Development Agency Director General Mr. Andrew Chipwende who is now Chief Executive Officer at the Industrial Development Corporation was reported to have received money which he was not entitled to be paid under the GRZ funding and the ACC has remained mute to date.
The Auditor Generals Report, reported and we quote A scrutiny of the contract for the Director General revealed that he was to be receiving donor funded monthly income amounting to US$2,000 in addition to his salary.
Clause 5.2 of the Director Generals contract exempted the additional monthly income from Pay As You Earn (PAYE) tax.
The exclusion of that portion of his 114 emoluments from being taxed is a contravention of CAP 323 of the Laws of Zambia, Income Tax Act Schedule II which does not include such incomes and such officers among tax exempt incomes and office bearers.
In this regard, amounts totaling US$60,000 had been paid to Mr. Chipwende from May 2011 to October 2013 without deducting and remitting PAYE to the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA).
Although the contract stated that the Director General was to be paid additional monthly income of US$2,000 from donor funds, there were no donor funds received during the stated period.
Consequently, the Director General was paid from the ZDA funding received from Government and no taxes were deducted and paid to ZRA.
“Surely this conduct of obtaining public funds which he is not entitled to cannot take the ACC more than 4 years to investigate or take action. Secondly, in 2015 materials worth over K251 million were not supplied but paid for and yet no culprit has been arrested?”
Another example that borders on theft reported in the 2015 Auditor Generals report is that In February and March 2015, the Ministry of Agriculture paid a total amount of K132,767 as subsistence allowances to various officers for attending two (2) workshops to review job descriptions and training needs assessment purportedly held at Ndozo Lodge in Chilanga District.
A verification carried out in June 2016 at Ndozo Lodge revealed that no such workshops were held at the Lodge.
“TIZ fully supports President Lungus stance to dismiss all Ministers and public officials involved in corruption so that citizens will take his stance seriously and see that corruption is a grave danger to development in Zambia.”
“As for the law enforcement agencies, we challenge them to work independently so that they can quickly identify all the culprits and have them arrested. If these drastic measures are not taken, then the presidents statement will just be a mere academic exercise that is aimed at gaining political mileage and sympathy from the Zambian people.”