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UPP notes rampant corruption around campaign billboardsBy Mirriam Chabala on 5 May 2017
United Progressive People (UPP) president Saviour Chishimba says while his party is overwhelmed with the numerous cases of corruption in the PF government, it has failed to ignore the “chaotic and corrupt practices surrounding out door advertising” at the Lusaka City Council (LCC).
In a statement, Chishimba said there was an advertising agency with links to Chinese that mounted campaign billboards for the PF around the city, and in some cases, on slots that were already sold to other advertising agents by the local authority.
“While we are quite overwhelmed with the numerous cases of corruption under the PF-MMD Government that we are still pursuing as part of our resolve to provide checks and balances, UPP can no longer ignore the chaotic and corrupt practices surrounding out door advertising under the Lusaka City Council (LCC). The outdoor advertising sub sector, if well structured and properly managed, has potential to generate over K100 million for Lusaka City, but this is not so at the moment due to serial corrupt practices,” Chishimba said.
“The evidence in our possession shows that there are several advertising agencies that have been given 3 to 10 year periods of exemptions from paying applicable fees. Apart from this, some of the agencies are given up to free first 300 billboards to erect. Worse still, we note that there is one particular agency with connections to the Chinese that is placing billboards illegally in the streets that are already licensed and allocated to others. Our records indicate that this notorious agency has not even been paying the Lusaka City Council for the illegal billboards.”
He stated that the agency that had connections to State House was threatening council officials.
“We are still verifying the information that we have to the effect that the local authority has been under constant threats coming from the owners of the same agency who claim to have connections to State House. UPP has consistently cautioned against the involvement of State House in public contracts. The rate at which corrupt individuals are associating themselves with State House is worrisome. The danger of this practice is that crooks would begin to use the name of the President even when he is not aware in some instances. The fact that some of these agencies erected free billboards for PF candidates, including the President, does not mean that they are now above the law,” said Chishimba.
“The level of lawlessness by the same agency has reached crisis proportions. The Law requires that billboards be placed at least two metres high, but this is not the case anymore. Motorists can longer have clear views and this is making the roads unsafe. The city is now littered with illegal billboards and it is not even clear under whose management some of the streets are. UPP hereby gives the Lusaka City Council up to close of business on Monday 8 May, 2017 to explain to the nation why these abhorrent corrupt practices have been going on for far too long.
Failure to offer a satisfactory explanation, with concrete steps to restore sanity in the city, UPP will not only provide a detailed account of the whole saga with a list of all outdoor advertising agencies whose activities are clearly corrupt, but also get a court order to clean the city by pulling down all illegal billboards.”
About Mirriam Chabala
Mirriam Chabala is a Zambian journalist who covers current affairs and writes in-depth feature articles on social issues.
Email: mirriam [at] diggers [dot] news
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