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October 10, 2012

Zambia Group Investigates Ministers over Alleged Graft

by Peter Clottey

The director general of Zambia’s Anti-Corruption Commission has opened an investigation into allegations of corruption against two senior ministers in President Michael Sata’s government.

“We have a policy which mandates us to fight against corruption on three levels; institutional, structural level, which deals with the traditional norms and customs that encourage the occurrence of corruption in society. And thirdly, the investigations and prosecution side of it,” said Rosewin Wandi, director general of the Anti-Corruption Commission.

She called on Zambians to have confidence in her commission’s ability to investigate cases of graft irrespective of the individual’s status in society or position in government.

The two officials under investigations are Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba and Defense Minister Geoffrey Mwamba. Some analysts have called on the ministers to resign to prevent any interference as well as to pave the way for the graft investigation.

Kabimba says he would only resign if there is proof he was involved in corruption.

“I want to assure the nation that as soon as the allegations are proven to me and they go beyond what is in the press, I owe the people of Zambia to act exemplary and step down as Minister of Justice,” said Kabimba.

Mwamba has so far not commented on the commission’s investigations.

Some anti-corruption crusaders say the graft inquiry against the two ministers will test President Sata’s promise to weed out graft.

Wandi denied speculation that the refusal of the ministers to step aside could interfere with the inquiry.

“The Anti-Corruption Commission is an autonomous institution and the law itself says we shall not be subject to any person or authority in our operations,” said Wandi. “So even with these investigations there is no interference and we are carrying out our investigation in accordance with our mandate, under the law.”

 Wandi said her commission has the backing of President Sata to continue investigating allegations of corruption as part of an effort to weed out graft.

“Let me tell you now that political will is very important in such a fight. And I think that currently, there is that political will in Zambia to fight corruption,” said Wandi.

She outlined the policies and procedures of the anti-graft body.

“Apart from investigating corruption, we have two other functions. The first being corruption prevention and the second being community education,” said Wandi.

Clottey interview with Rosewin Wandi,director general Zambia's ACC