Hakainde Hichilema has challenged President Edgar Lungu to immediately act on those cited in the Financial Intelligence Centre reports of 2017 and 2018 to justify his statements on the corruption fight.
Hichilema, the UPND president, has stated that a total of K10.6 billion is reported to have been lost through corruption and other financial crimes, according to the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) reports of 2017 and 2018.
“If you are not willing to head this crusade, one day, the Zambian people will head an anti-corruption crusade against you. As UPND, we will stand, as we always have, with the people to demand Zambia’s money back. If you think you will shield these culprits until 2021, there is life after 2021. The Bembas say ‘umulandu taubola’. The Zambian people will one day demand what rightly belongs to them. I am sure Zambian people would want to one day respect you as a former President, but to earn this respect, we urge you to also respect them today by securing their resources and therefore their future. As it is now, Edgar Lungu is being viewed with contempt, and many would say he deserved it because he has exhibited a leadership weakness that a President should never show,” Hichilema stated in a statement issued today. “The rampant corruption and economic sabotage reported in the Financial Intelligence Centre’s 2018 Trends Report does not only make sad reading for a country that is in such a terrible economic crises, it actually tells us how arrogant the PF Government is, and how and determined they are to continue looting the fortunes of our country, take advantage of the fact that Zambians are a peaceful citizenry that will only talk and eventually walk away from the issue. It is sad for the country, sadder for its people and sadder still and shameful for the PF supporters who do not even benefit from the corruption, but keep supporting the PF simply for the feel good effect of being aligned to the ruling party.”
He stated that the money reportedly lost through corruption in the last two years was enough to clear the $750 million eurobond due in 2022.
“In 2017, the country lost K4.5 billion through corruption, according to the FIC’s 2017 Trends Report. This has increased to K6.1 billion in 2018, meaning in two years, the PF Government has lost K10.6 billion, which is about US$1 billion through corruption…The President can save this country if only he can empower the law enforcement agencies and allow them to do their job of prosecuting the people that have looted the country and compelling them to return the money,” Hichilema stated.
“We want to believe that President Lungu means well when he says he is committed to fighting corruption. And if he does, we want to challenge him to inform the nation what he has done to those who were cited in 2017 report for milking K4.5 billion off the country through corruption. How many successful prosecutions did Zambia record on his watch? Is Mr. Lungu letting these people go scot-free and yet still expect us to believe that he is fighting corruption? Mr. President, we are still waiting for your Executive action on the 2017 Trends Report, and we demand that those cited be compelled to bring back the K4.5 billion that they stole in 2017.”
He stated that the money being lost through corruption and other financial crimes belonged to Zambians and not PF money.
“For 2018, the law enforcement agencies have again received 80 reports of suspected money laundering. We demand to know how many of these cases have been acted on. We demand that the K6.1 billion be forensically traced and brought back to the Government coffers this year. This is not PF Government money; it is the money of the Zambian people, which was entrusted to you Government. And on your watch, it was lost. We demand it back!” Hichilema stated.
“You know the thieves and corrupt elements in your Government. You know each of your Ministers and the wealth they had when they joined you. You know for instance that a few years ago, your Minister Lusambo was just a parker at Cash Crusaders. Today Mr. Lusambo has become such a wealthy businessman that he can donate goods worth millions to his constituency. If not through corrupt dealings and pillaging of public resources, where do you think Mr. Lusambo might have gotten the money from when you know his salary as a provincial Minister?”
He further gave an example of infrastructure minister Ronald Chitotela who previously was a police constable but had allegedly amassed a lot of wealth while serving in the PF government.
“You know Mr. Chitotela was just a police constable before joining the PF. Then he became a Minister and today Mr. Chitotela has amassed massive amounts of wealth. When ACC arrests him, you tell us that he is innocent and will continue as Minister until proven guilty. Where is the integrity and morality in keeping an allegedly corrupt person on your administration? Yes, the law may provide for that, but why did you not apply the same principle when Emerine Kabanshi was embroiled in the ZAMPOST Social Cash Transfer saga if your motive is not to aid and abet corruption? Same game and different rules, these are signs of your weak presidency Mr. Lungu,” Hichilema stated.
“As we demand the repayment of the K10.6 billion (about US$1 billion), which your colleagues have stolen in the last two years, we also demand that you immediately introduce amendments to the Public Procurement Act among others, to prohibit participation of shell corporations in public procurement. This is a key channel through which money is being stolen. Amending the Public Procurement Act was actually one of the promises the PF Government made in 2017 as part of the structural reforms towards fiscal fitness. Why have you grown cold feet if not to facilitate corruption? And yet to find it quite easy to amend the entire Constitution simply because you would rather weed out elements of the Supreme Law that are inconvenient to the PF, irrespective of the cost to Zambia.”