Corruption is imbedded in the Zambian psyche and only concerted effort by all Zambians regardless of political orientation will remove the scourge, Minister of Finance Mr. Alexander Chikwanda has said.
Speaking in Parliament during a debate on the Public Accounts Committee Mr. Chikwanda acknowledged that corruption was an evil that could not be eradicated by shouting obscenities and name calling, but through combined effort by all Zambians.
There was need, he said, to reinforce the various watchdog institutions to ensure that they performed their role of safeguarding public resources which should not be used for personal benefit.
He added that there should be zero tolerance to corruption and misdirection of public resources, “We must put our heads together, and think of ways of stopping corruption.” He said.
Mr. Chikwanda said there was no need for acrimony, because proposals for improving the efficiency of Government including strengthening the work of the Public Accounts Committee should be discussed as Government was equally desirous of stemming the hemorrhage of public resources. The Minister was responding to stinging attacks from the opposition members who condemned Government for not being serious in eliminating corruption.
Parliament was informed that although Government had paid K53billion on the Kasaba Bay Airport improvement project nothing had been done contrary to official’s reports and payment certificate which showed that up to 7o percent of works had been done.
Instead, Parliament heard that only mounds of soil lined what should have been a new runway and yet the consultant responsible for the project who was also a contractor had been given, more and bigger projects by the Government.
Members of Parliament wondered what criteria the Government used to award major public works in view of the clearly poor performance as the case was in Kasaba Bay.
The Government was warned that Kasaba Bay which had the potential of being developed into another Livingstone as a tourist area of attraction was dying and unless urgent action was taken, the infrastructure would deteriorate beyond retrieval. Earlier Monze Central MP Jack Mwiimbu said the committee report indicating that close to K1 trillion had been misappropriated went a long way to confirm the need for Government to ensure that such oversight bodies as the Public Accounts Committee were strengthened.