Looting through compensations!

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Looting through compensations!

The primary responsibility of any government is to protect citizens.
And this is from all forms of insecurity – be it food, want, physical harm, ailments and so on and so forth. It even becomes more critical for those entrusted with public finance or state power to protect the national treasury. We are told that government treasury management is a critical aspect of fiscal governance that helps countries manage their financial resources, support economic growth, and ensure transparency and accountability in public finances.

According to FreeBalance “A well-managed treasury system can provide governments with the necessary resources to fund public services and investment in infrastructure, education, and health.” Prudence is essential. Solutions to one problem must be solutions for all.

In our case, we were told by the new dawn administration that they inherited empty coffers. But from these empty coffers we have seen an avalanche of consent orders with hefty compensations to UNPD members only, arising from detentions during the PF regime. No one is against delivering justice. Justice is one of the most important ideals in our society. It’s what we strive for in order to create a fair and equitable world. Empathy is what separates humanity from beasts!

As Martin Luther King Jr put it, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

But are these compensations we have seen in the last two years fair, appropriate and considerate? One thing for sure we smell a rat!

This is why we take note of the recent statement by Professor Muna Ndulo and Dr O’Brien Kaaba on the consent orders being

entered into by the state and various litigants.

The duo wrote that, “We have observed with bewilderment and disbelief several consent orders entered into between the State Chambers and various individuals involving huge sums of money. Although some appear well deserving, in a number these cases, there is either no sound legal justification for the settlements or the awards and the legal costs are grossly inflated. For example, in the case of Kaizar Zulu, it is clear he was not acting on behalf of the state and there is no moral or legal justification whatsoever for the state to

compensate those he injured in his private capacity. It would appear that someone in the State Chambers is fishing for such cases for personal gain, and that is corruption. It must be stopped forthwith. We are also concerned that in some cases the lawyers representing concerned individuals and those in State Chambers have previously had personal connections, raising questions about conflict of interest and the credibility of the negotiations and the protection of public interest in these settlements. We call upon President Hichilema to critically evaluate his legal team in State Chambers and dismiss those who are behind these racketeering schemes. We are appalled that oversight institutions such as the ACC, which should be in the forefront of protecting public resources, are doing nothing serious about the problem. This should have been stopped a long time ago had ACC been proactive, strategic and serious about protecting public resources. The deals at the Ministry of Justice clearly indicate that to have a sustainable fight against corruption, it is not enough that the top national leadership

is committed to the eradication of corruption. We need institutional transformation. We need to redesign institutions like ACC to make them capable and truly professional and independent.”

Yes, this is a systematic way of looting the national treasury using the law. It is unfortunate that Hakainde has also endorsed this, all because he wants to please his party members. It is not possible that he doesn’t know what is going on regarding these strange compensations. Hakainde is fully aware and he has endorsed this process otherwise it would not have gone on this trajectory. But we warn that these judgments will definitely be revisited when government changes. And all the actors in this process will be prosecuted and convicted, including those from the Attorney General’s chambers. The way they are busy revisiting some of the judgments passed in the previous regime is the same way theirs will also be revisited and questioned. So while they rejoice in this sunshine, they should also remember that the same sun will set upon them one day. So as they reward each other, they should celebrate with the reminder that a time will come when they will have to justify those compensations. Indeed, they have learnt the art of lawfare very quickly but blindly!

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