The Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) is seriously facing high levels of corruption and abuse of office perpetuated by Ministers and wives of senior government officials, says UPND Mbabala Member of Parliament Ephraim Belemu.
In an interview Mr. Belemu said that the current corruption going on at ZAWA was frightening as it involves serving ministers and wives of senior government officials in the Patriotic Front (PF) government.
Mr. Belemu said that Zambians needed to join hands to demand for a tribunal to investigate Arts and Tourism Minister Sylvia Masebo’s abuse of office and other allegations of corruption leveled against her in order to bring sanity to the authority and t he ministry.
He said that the deals at ZAWA over the cancelation of the safari concessions by Ms. Masebo were highly questionable; adding that information filtering from ZAWA indicated that safari concessions or contracts were given secretly to those close to the PF leadership.
Mr. Belemu said that corruption in the management of ZAWA contracts needed investigations , adding that a tribunal was the only answer to ascertain how deep the vice had eaten the system.
“That is why we have always demanded that some people in the PF government serving as senior ministers be investigated through a tribunal in order to address high levels of corruption at ZAWA. No one can deny the fact that allegations of corruption and abuse of office involving PF ministers at ZAWA are now prevalent. They are giving themselves and their associate safari hunting concessions going against the laws of the land,” he said.
Mr. Belemu said that it was strange that the PF government and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) had paid a blind eye to the corruption allegations at ZAWA involving ministers.
He said that because of the nature of the allegations at ZAWA involving ministers, officials were now being monitored to ascertain who was leaking information about the corruption scandals that have marred the authority and the ministry of tourism.
“What is sad is that senior government officials and ZAWA workers are wondering why government and ACC have played low over the allegations of abuse of office involving ministers and some board members who are also close to the leadership.
Let the President come out and direct the dissolution of the board at ZAWA in order to allow for a forensic audit of animals and the tenders. We want to know why Madam Masebo cancelled the tenders awarded to the 19 concession safaris. We want to know why some politicians have been co-opted into the ZAWA board going against the law of the land.”