FORMER lands and natural resources minister Jean Kapata says it will be a waste of time and money to concentrate on fighting corruption cases which don’t yield any results. The former minister says it defeats logic to spend K50 in trying to retrieve K10.
KAPATA: “Let it not be like the Mwanawasa government where the government spent K50 searching for K10. We still have Zambians that do not have meals in their houses and the UPND government promised three meals. I have been through Mandevu a few times to check on the people who are having lunch, breakfast and supper. So, they must concentrate on putting people’s food on the table. And I wouldn’t want a situation where the government spends so much money, I have given a good example that you are spending K50 to get K10.”
Kapata is not the only person who thinks like this. Many prominent people out there have been calling on the UPND not to waste resources pursuing PF members who are believed to have gained unexplained wealth. They don’t see why the government must allocate funds towards prosecuting corruption cases. Why spend K50 to fetch K10, they ask.
What they don’t realise is that prosecuting corruption cases also acts as a deterrent to other would-be offenders. If someone is allowed to steal K10 without any consequences, they will do it again and the cumulative amount of money they will have taken will be more than the K10. Imagine a world where thieves are not prosecuted on grounds that what they stole is less than what would be spent on prosecution. Can that be a normal country? Yes fighting corruption is expensive, but that is why there is a budgetary allocation towards just that.
Criminals must be followed and they must be made to account for what they possess. It’s not a waste of money. The problem we have in this country is not the lack of capacity to prosecute crimes; it is the desire by individuals in authority to shield criminals because they are beneficiaries of these criminal acts. That is why we are witnessing a corruption fight that is targeting the weak and vulnerable.
We are calling on the UPND government not to listen to people who want looters to enjoy their loot without facing the law. The law says if you have stolen, even if it’s a chicken, you must be prosecuted and punished. Let us be bold enough to confront the things that went wrong in Zambia. There should be no room to celebrate or abet vices that weaken the cohesion and freedom of our people and our country. At the state level, we must confront the reality that critical institutions of our government have been targeted by individuals and families, through the exercise of influence and the manipulation of governance processes and public resources. Patriotic Zambians are willing to go as far as it takes to bring perpetrators of corruption to book.
In the recent past, we have exposed high-level corruption in our country, abuse of office, smuggling, theft and embezzlement; particularly under the PF government. But President Edgar Lungu never took interest in any one of the cases.
Zambia needs to deal with the ‘perceptions and reality’ of corruption from a state capture point of view; and the best way to fight State Capture is to expose it by institutionalizing public pressure. We desperately need a Commission of Inquiry to investigate State Capture in this country through a public hearing.
We need to examine any and all financial transactions and source of income of any government official and State House staff in Zambia and any country abroad, particularly in the United Arab Emirates, India, Pakistan, South Africa and Mauritius. We need to ascertain the nature and extent of corruption in the awarding of contracts and tenders to companies‚ business entities or organizations by government departments and agencies.
With a guaranteed witness protection policy put in place, bringing these matters into question through an open Commission of Inquiry would change people’s attitudes towards corruption. This is what we need to do as a country. The corruption in PF was not a perception. It was real.