Zambia’s information minister says President Michael Sata’s declaration to weed out graft will “spare no sacred cows” in both previous and current administrations. His comments follow the release of a report by a government-sanctioned commission of inquiry on corruption in the Energy Regulation Board.
Fackson Shamenda said the government wants to set a standard that will discourage Zambians from aspiring to get into public office only to make money.
He said the government wants to ensure future officials desist from engaging in acts, which Shamenda said, will cause financial loss to the state.
“The report has just come out, it has got to be submitted to the cabinet [which] has got to look at the document [and then] make a decision,” said Shamenda.
“Those of us who are thinking of going into leadership should not [do so] for what we are going to get out of [the] leadership. So that those who have those intentions will stay out of it, so that we have credible people who will go into [public service] to serve.”
Park comments came after a commission of inquiry to probe the procurement of oil from 2007 to 2011 revealed malfeasance and corruption in the award of contracts. The commission estimated the cost of the scheme to be about $ 380 million.
According to the Zambia post, former President Rupiah Banda and his son James Banda were among other officials cited who benefited financially from awarding contracts to procure oil.
Instituted by Mr. Sata to probe the Energy Regulation Board, the commission recommended an investigation of those mentioned in the report, including the former president.
The others include former information minister Ronnie Shikapwasha; energy and water development Kenneth Konga; former permanent secretaries in the energy ministry Peter Mumba, Teddy Kasonso, and Buleti Nsemukila. The former director of the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) Samuel Chibuye and other senior directors in the same agency have also been named in the report.
The commission also recommended the temporary suspension of the accused who are still serving in government pending an investigation.
Supporters of the main opposition Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) say the allegations are politically motivated and aimed at decimating the party ahead of the next general election.
Shamenda disagrees, insisting that institutions like the judiciary and the police continue to demonstrate their independence.
“Just because people were in leadership if they are suspected then they should not be set free. If anything, we are setting up standards… so that it controls even other people who are in government now, so that we check what we are doing. It is good for the country,” said Shamenda.
“It is a serious warning to all Zambians, even those who are in leadership. Prisons …and rules are not only there to govern those who are being led. Even those who make those laws should be the first ones to observe the laws.”