A CORRUPT, ABUSIVE ACC CANNOT REASONABLY BE EXPECTED TO FIGHT CORRUPTION
By Fred M’membe, President of the Socialist Party
Those in the dark are in no position to light the way for others.
The Auditor General’s Interim Management Letter: Regularity Audit performed on the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) for the financial years ended 31st December 2022 shows that the ACC is in the dark and cannot light the way for Zambians to a corruption free society. It also not only gives a depressing and chilling perspective but also drowns the possibility of a genuine crackdown on corruption in this country.
The Auditor General’s disclosure of a myriad of possible scams and fraudulent activities being hatched within an institution that is constitutionally assigned to prevent and take necessary and effective measures for the prevention of corruption in public and private bodies, among others, is a serious indictment on the credibility and integrity of the ACC to carry its mandate. This audit has laid bare the shambolic nature of the current ACC management and their little affection and dedication in the task our people have entrusted them with.
For instance, how does one explain the Auditor General’s detailed inventory of abuses at ACC such as:
- the missing of Faith Musonda’s forfeited funds and failure to avail out of court settlement documents regarding this matter for audit;
- the failure to follow procurement guidelines; awarding of contract without clearance from the Attorney General and Secretary to the Treasury;
- the failure to declare and physically verify assets by senior management;
- questionable conditions of service for the Director General and other contractual employees;
- the failure to implement Board recommendations on establishing an investigation directorate for investigating corrupt cases for commission members of staff;
- wasteful expenditure;
- irregular payments of Board allowances;
- unretired accountable imprest;
- the failure to provide proof of conducting activities;
- unsupported payments;
- irregular servicing of motor vehicles not on the commission’s fleet;
- irregularities in the management of seized, forfeited and restricted properties/assets; and so on and so forth?
From this, it is clear that the Auditor General’s audit on ACC could just be the merest tip of the
Evidently, if one is to take this matter from a narrow perspective, this is more like ‘charity begins at home’ and from a broader perspective, this is indicative of the quality of governance in general under the leadership of Mr. Hakainde Hichilema. And going by the flood of violations and irregularities unearthed by the Auditor General at ACC, one does not even need to ask where the President stands in all this mess because we have a President whose working methods are far from persuading the citizens that he means what he says, particularly when it concerns the moneyed and politically favoured elite. And it does not require a genius to understand that this government has no desire to genuinely fight corruption in this country.
At this moment, what our people ought to realise is that the struggle in this country today is exclusively between the state protected corrupt who are numerically a tiny group and the not corrupt who are in the majority. In fact, the baffling episode at ACC only corroborates the unbearably dirty schemes of the predatory leadership of Mr Hichilema who seems to be delighted with making deceitful promises and commitments about safeguarding taxpayer’s money. And one wonders how he even summons the courage to train his focus on deliberately misleading and manipulating our people when he is virtually failing in all spheres of governance.
Without a doubt, the ACC in its current state and management is an exercise in humiliation for the country. And matters such as those uncovered in this audit must trigger an alarm among key stakeholders like the Church, political parties and the civil society. Skirting these matters will ultimately collapse the fight against graft in this country owing to Mr Hichilema’s lack of capacity for sound judgment and action in strengthening the crusade.
A corrupt and abusive Anti Corruption Corruption cannot reasonably be expected to fight corruption for on our behalf. This is nothing but a fraud, a deception, a joke!