IT IS totally unacceptable that civil servants can refuse to testify on behalf of the Government, leading to the Director of Public Prosecutions entering a nolle prosequi.
This conduct, apart from being reprehensible, is indicative of the culture and unacceptable character of the Anti-Corruption Commission which is not only compromised but is at worst an instrument of malevolence.
As we understand it, statements were taken from officers who were to testify in a matter where a letter written by the Director-General of the ACC to the President was leaked and subsequently published.
This is an offence and those responsible, starting from the person who wrote the letter, should have been arraigned to explain how the letter found itself out of the circulation cycle.
It is not in doubt that the letter was indeed published. The issue therefore is how this happened and it follows also therefore that only those responsible could give a cogent explanation.
That is why failure to prosecute this matter to its logical conclusion will send very wrong signals to the civil service in as far as document security is concerned.
Apart from setting a very bad example, the failure to prosecute in the light of a clearly established case will promote the culture of impunity that is going to hurt the public service in the performance of its duties of delivering goods and services to the people of Zambia.
The fact that this particular letter was from the ACC to the President breaches a very vital principle of trust between senior Government operatives and the President in as far as exchange of vital information is concerned.
This episode gives rise to the notion of infiltration in Government where information is leaked willy nilly because of divided loyalties.
This situation may to a large extent explain the inertia with which similar offences including the interception and recording of official telephone conversations have been tapped, published and Government dared to take action.
It does not bode well for Government policy starting from the Secretary to Cabinet right down to the lowest levels that offences against authority are allowed in a manner that suggests that other people in this country are above the law.
This is a test case for Government and especially for those responsible for the civil service.
Zambians who have the nation at heart will want to know what action is being taken against officers who have wilfully refused to testify even when it was their duty to do so.
Indeed we would like to know whether such officers deserve to remain under Government payroll when they so willingly and intentionally refused to perform a duty on behalf of their employer and in line with their duty as law enforcement officers.
On our part we wish to assure the Secretary to the Cabinet that this is a matter we shall not relent on until definite action is taken to eradicate abuse and corruption in the system.