THE Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) has challenged the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to immediately arrest and prosecute Labour and Social Services Minister Fackson Shamenda for bragging that he deliberately breached the law of reporting bribe allegations to the commission because he had had a choice when and where to report.
MMD national secretary Muhabi Lungu said if the ACC was serious about investigating and fighting corruption, they should not hesitate to arrest Mr Shamenda because he had publicly confessed that he deliberately breached section 39 (1) of the Anti-Corruption Act No 3 of 2012
Mr Lungu said the ACC would be abeting corruption if it did not arrest Mr Shamenda for delaying to report the allegation that Dangote Industries Zambia (DIZ) Limited attempted to bribe him within the stipulated time of 24 hours after the occurrence of the event without reasonable cause.
Last week, the ACC said Mr Shamenda could have committed a jailable offence of up to two years imprisonment when he failed without reasonable cause to report to the commission or the police within 24 hours an allegation of attempted bribery by Dangote Industries Zambia Limited.
The commission has since declined to commence investigations against Dangote because it fears that the lapse on the part of Mr Shamenda would have resulted into finding the labor minister wanting. Mr Muhabi said following Mr Shamenda admission and bragging that he ignored the ACC law because he wanted to do things his own way, it was a challenge for the commission to quickly move and and apprehend the minister if the Zambia was being governed by the rule of law and not on the whims of man.
“Both Mr Shamenda and the ACC have shown no desire to truly fight corruption because while the minister has committed a jailable offence, the commission had decided to become an accomplice by not arresting the offender. Mr Shamenda is bragging that he deliberately breached section 30 of the Anti-Corruption Act No 3 of 2012 and the commission has folded its arms. I challenge to ACC to arrest Mr Shamenda and prosecute him because the man has not denied having committed a crime,” Mr Lungu said.
He said the MMD had not forgotten that President Michael Sata had issued a decree that the ACC and the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) should never embark on investigations of his government ministers without getting permission from him (Sata).
Mr Lungu said it could be that the ACC was waiting for President Sata to instruct them to arrest Mr Shamenda because in any country that is serious with the fight against graft, the labour minister could have been issuing his bragging statements from a prison cell.
And ACC public relations manager Timothy Moono when contacted about Mr Shamenda’s bragging that it was up to him to deice when and where to report his bribe allegations against Dangote advised the Daily Nation to proceed with the story based on the anti-corruption law.
Mr Moono said the commission was not going to issue a statement on Mr Shamenda’s confession that he had deliberately breached section 30 of the Anti-Corruption Act but asked the newspaper to make its own interpretation of the minister’s decision.