Fighting corruption

We entirely agree with the Minister of Finance when he states that fighting corruption is an exercise that will require the effort of  all citizens regardless of their  political affiliation.
We would actually go further and suggest that fighting corruption in Zambia requires the leadership of the Government. The Government must show a determination and political will to fight the vice wherever it occurs without looking at the stature and political affiliation of those involved.
It is very sad that the fight against graft appears fully focused on the opposition.
For example the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC)  has publicly announced its intention to pursue former law makers who have lost seats in Parliament as a result of election petitions lodged by the ruling Patriotic Front(PF).
Interestingly this will be the first time the ACC is undertaking such an exercise and from all accounts the first victim is former Petauke MP Dora Siliya who has been targeted for elimination from the by election.
Most likely other opposition MPs, some of them charged with offering paltry sums of money and bicycles are likely to be hauled before the court, leaving behind many cases involving huge sums of money.
This is leaving out major corruption that we have exposed in the Trafigura oil deal. The Government has failed to explain the discrepancies we have exposed which discrepancies show that up to US$120 million or K600billion was skimmed off improperly.
This scandal has never been explained and yet it must be. We hope the dither is not as a result of concerns because of the people involved in the scandal.
Another  good example is the scandal of the Kasaba Bay Airport which is very far from completion and yet the K53billion contracted sum has been paid to the contractor who we understands is also the consultant in the project.
The money has been paid against certificates indicating that the project had been completed and yet by all accounts the only progress made on the project are heaps of laterite that are still lining what should be the runway of the airport.
There is no doubt that corruption is at play in this huge project. The full contract sum should not have been paid because certificates are supposed to be prepared and be presented for payment in stages as the project progresses.
The fact that the entire contract sum has been paid is indicative of a major problem in certification which should be fully investigated. Whether or not the consultant of the project was also the contractor is immaterial because Government controlling officers should have ensured that no funds were released until and unless work was seen to have been completed.
In this case both the Auditor General and even the Public Accounts Committee have found that a lot of steps were missed, many of them by deliberate effort.
This is a matter that should be investigated in order to find a quick solution so that the project is quickly executed for the benefit of the society and the local economy which has been starved of tourism potential by virtue of the airport debacle.
It is even feared that Kasaba which holds so much tourism potential may die.
If this comes to pass it will simply show the lack of political commitment to the fight against corruption and graft.
Therefore the fight against corruption should not be a fight against the opposition but against real examples of abuses of vast sums of money as the two above cases indicate.

Categorized | Editorial

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