Rainbow Party General Secretary Wynter Kabimba says the excuse given by Anti-Corruption Commission Director General Kapetwa Phiri that the Commission is failing in its duties due to invisible influence threatening witnesses from giving information to the ACC is washy, because the commission under the law has powers to prosecute anyone who obstructs an investigation.

And Kabimba says Zambians have the right to perceive President Edgar Lungu as a thief because he has failed to act on those who are involved in criminal activities under his administration.

In an interview, Kabimba rubbished Phiri’s statement that Ministers were threatening Permanent Secretaries from playing the whistleblower role in the mismanagement of public resources, thereby making it hard for the ACC to execute its mandate.

“Well, I thought that the law gives powers to the ACC to subpoena people to go there with information. I really don’t think that anybody can stand in the way of investigations by refusing to cooperate because that is an offence. If you are summoned to court as a witness because you have information to a case that is going on and you don’t appear there, then you are in contempt of Court and that in itself is an offence,” Kabimba explained.

“So the excuse being given by the ACC director general is a lame one because if it was really true that there are hindrances in the way they conduct their affairs at that office, they should exercise their powers by getting those people hindering the process prosecuted, because they are standing in the way of investigations. They have got powers, ACC has got powers to prosecute those who refuse to cooperate with them and for withholding information which they require to conclude their investigations. So they must do what the law empowers them to do.”

He said the ACC should be pressurised to explain why its not doing its work when it had all the powers it needed.

“If you read the ACC Act, you will be able to see the powers of the Anti-Corruption Commission as they relate to investigations because they have a lot of powers and I wonder why they are even giving us those excuses. These people in the law enforcement agencies must be taken to task, if for example there is a murder today in [Lusaka’s] Mandavu township, and the police are not investigating that matter, you should ask them as journalists why they are not investigating the matter because the police are obliged as a matter of law to investigate when there is a murder and establish who is involved in that murder. So the ACC should be pressurised to explain why its not doing its work when it has all the powers it needs,” Kabimba said.

And Kabimba said people were tired of hearing President Lungu’s plea of ignorance on theft.

“This is not the first time that Edgar is making that pronouncement and we are tired of listening to that pontification. What we want to see from Edgar Lungu now is action. He cannot keep on making pronouncements every time, what he needs to do is to take action. So that’s the problem that I have with Edgar myself, this is not the first time he is saying that he will deal with everyone who is corrupt in his government, he has said it several times. For as long as he continues making these pronouncements without taking any action, Zambians will not take him seriously. Zambians will either not take him seriously or they will think that he’s also involved. That will be the perception of the general citizenry; that either he’s not serious about the whole thing or he himself is involved. It is not enough for him to keep on saying ‘I am not involved’ we want to see him take action against those that are involved,” Kabimba said.

He said the investigative wings should take interest to investigate the dealings of the Head of State, saying executive immunity did not protect the President from being accountable.

“The President is only immune from prosecution because the article in the constitution says ‘nothing that the President does while in office shall make him amenable to prosecution.’ That’s what the article says, it doesn’t serve him from investigation no, he can be investigated. But even if they establish a case against him, you can’t prosecute him as a sitting President unless his immunity is removed by moving a motion to revoke his immunity under the constitution, like what happened to (former President) Rupiah Banda,” explained Kabimba.