Cabinet must publish how much ex-ministers owe govt – Chipimo

National Restoration Party (NAREP) President Elias Chipimo says Cabinet office and the Ministry of Finance should compile and publish a list of how much ministers get in terms of salaries, benefits and allowances.

Chipimo said the two named institutions should also state and publish how much each Minister among those who illegally stayed in office after the dissolution of parliament owes to the government.

Chipimo said this in an interview with News Diggers! today in reaction to former Transport and Communications Minister Yamfwa Mukanga who said he would also file in a quotation to demand that government pays him for the engineering consultancy he offered during his illegal stay in office.

“There is a responsibility of the parts of all the agencies that enforce the law in this country to make sure that orders from the Constitutional Court are complied with and there should be clear direction from the President himself because as custodian of the office of the President, its not personal to holder, but he is a custodian on behalf of the people of Zambia. He has the responsibility to direct the necessary law enforcement officials to ensure that the law is complied with as interpreted by the highest Constitutional Court in this country. So there is no excuse and there can be no excuse whatsoever for anybody claiming that they should be compensated for what they did if that work was not contracted or if it was done during the time when they were illegally in office,” Chipimo said.

“So the constitutional court has made it very clear that at that time, they shouldn’t have remained in office and that they should pay back. There should be a compilation by the necessary people within the Ministry of Finance that are responsible and Cabinet Office that are responsible for compiling salaries and benefits that are due to these ministers. They should publish that and state that ‘this is what each of these ministers is owing’. And there must be a time frame set, because this is government money that was spent, there must be a time frame set for them to pay back that money.”

He said nothing should stand in the way of enforcing the orders of the Constitutional Court.

“So nothing should stand in the way of enforcing the order of the Constitutional Court because what we will start to see if this is ignored is the sense of impunity and a sense that we have the law only applied to some people and not others. The fortunate thing however is if this government and the current administration does not have the guts or does not have enough of the interest of the Zambian people to follow through on what the constitutional court had demanded, the subsequent administration which comes in will be able to ensure that there is compliance to this order from the constitutional court,” said Chipimo.

“The important thing about this constitutional court is that regardless of what the head of state says, people now have to look and say ‘i will be personally liable for this, so I now have to either accept the appointment by the president which maybe incorrect or reject it. But I will know the consequences if I accept it and its something that is violating the law’. This is not an issue of personal responsibility on the part of the President, this is an issue of personal responsibility on the part of the person who accepted to play that role as Minister during the time they shouldn’t have done so. But it does call into question to the President as well as his senior advisors because his legal advisors should have been able to alert him to this issue and he himself should have made sure that he is getting the best advise so as not to put the country in this situation.”

         

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