Copperbelt University Students Union (COBUSU) president Njikho Musuku says it is selfish for leaders to plunder public resources at the expense of suffering citizens.

The recent Auditor General’s report revealed that the Ministry of Higher Education paid K8.5 million to non students in the year ended 2016.

Reacting to the revelation in an interview yesterday, Musuku said it was high time Zambians demanded accountability from leaders.

“Zambian people should rise to the occasion and hold selfish leaders, who are up to plunder and are deeply inclined to dubious and corrupt acts of obtaining public funds, accountable and answerable for their sins. We demand that the law visits them. It is high time we spoke against such financial irregularities taking place in these offices; more especially in times where these same public office barriers come out in public to make false claims that government do not have sufficient resources to run the affairs of the nation whilst they are handsomely funded,” Musuku said.

He said it was unjustifiable for the ministry to fail to meet its obligations to students whilst top officials plundered the resources.

“This has been the case with the Ministry of Higher Education where monies have never been enough to sponsor vulnerable students and crediting their meal and book allowances when it’s due, fund the universities and colleges for normal operations but conspicuous misappropriations of funds are taking centre of its operations,” Mususu said.

“We urge Anti-Corruption Commission to with immediate effect institute investigations and thoroughly probe the ministry of Higher Education Ministry for misapplication of public funds and the possible embezzlements of public resources. We would also want to lodge in our humble appeal as students that His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu should not let all those individuals with issues to sort and cleanse themselves with investigative agencies as they continue holding on to their respective ministerial positions as this will enhance transparency and equal application of law without interference.”

He revealed that over 500 CBU students did not receive their project allowances in 2016.

“In 2016, over 500 CBU students did not receive their project allowances and no reason was given as to why that happened. In addition, up to this time we still have over 550 unregistered first year CBU students who have not been given bursary hoping a listening government will positively respond to them. Over months now, the ministry which is fully aware of this has been silent after asking students to appeal for consideration. It is inhuman to keep students in uncertainty as they do not know their fate. This kind of recklessness must be condemned by all well-meaning Zambians. Such levels of rapacity and venality should not be left unchecked,” Musuku said.

He lamented that university infrastructure was dilapidated.

“We are very nonplussed with the report generally that came from the Ministry of Higher Education which has revealed about K 8,369,665 colossal monies were embezzled and misapplied. Our public universities and colleges are in a dilapidated state where labs are no longer functional, no furniture in classes and [lack of] teaching aids and poor sanitation. Furthermore, construction of student hostels has been slow due to lack of funding and yet individuals keep misusing funds meant for the development of this nation,” said Musuku.