Youth Activist Gregory Chifire says a tribunal must be established to investigate the conduct of Lands and Natural Resources Minister Jean Kapata because she breached the law by failing to remit proceeds from the sale of mukula to the Treasury.
On Tuesday, opposition members of parliament grilled Kapata in Parliament for spending proceeds from the sale of confiscated mukula logs.
In her explanation, Kapata admitted that her ministry invested the money realised from the sale of Mukula into Kawambwa Tea company without first remitting the money to the Treasury as required by law.
And in an interview Wednesday, Chifire said Kapata had exposed to Parliament, the dishonest manner in which the transactions from the sale of mukula were being handled.
“The conduct by the Minister of Lands Jean Kapata on the sale of mukula logs is regrettable. Her responses in Parliament only serve to expose the dishonest manner in which the transactions were being handled. It is an open secret that Jean Kapata and her cronies used ZAFFICO as a rubber stamp to sell mukula for their personal and private gains. She has just exposed herself and the law must follow her. Ms Kapata has not only breached financial laws, but the Ministerial code of conduct as well promulgated by Parliament. That being established, I wish to ask for the establishment of a tribunal to ascertain her conduct,” Chifire said.
“Further, I’m convinced that the Minister’s conduct is shrouded in corruption. According to section 22(1)(b) of the Anti Corruption Act No. 3 of 2012: 21(1) ‘A public officer commits an offence who (b) uses the Public officer’s position, office or authority or any information that the public officer obtains as a result of, or in the course of, the performance of that public officer’s functions to obtain property, profit, an advantage or benefit directly or indirectly, for oneself or another person; (c) uses the public officer’s position, office or information to obtain, promise, offer, or give undue advantage to oneself or another person, directly or indirectly, in order for the public officer to perform or refrain from performing the public officer’s duties,’ end of quote,”
Chifire called for an establishment of a tribunal to ascertain Kapata’s conduct.
“It is a pity that we have a toothless ACC and moribund DEC. They will do nothing about this case. Now that Kapata has exposed herself, I’m calling for her resignation for a possible establishment of a tribunal to ascertain her conduct in line with the law as quoted earlier. For avoidance of doubt, Mrs Kapita took oath to defend the constitution, any breach such as exhibited by her conduct of not remitting the proceeds from the sale of Mukula to control 99, disqualifies her from continuing to render sacred the service to the people of Zambia as Minister. She has sank beneath dignity. It is my prayer that the rightful punishment be meted on her in order to deter others. Perhaps, she may escape this punishment, but I can assure you that another government will revisit this matter. They say in my language that ‘mulandu si ubola’, one day she will meet her nemesis,” he said.
Chifire said a thorough forensic audit needed to be done on every ‘criminal’ involved in the mukula business.
“This thing about mukula will be inconclusive if a thorough forensic audit is not done, starting with the records at the borders and the accounts for ZAFFICO. This thing must not only end with Kapata but all the criminals involved. I’m very much aware that Kapata is not alone, those close to State House were also involved, to the exclusion of other Zambians,” said Chifire.
“It is sad that owners of forests where this mukuka was coming from have not benefited but the selfish politicians. I shudder to imagine the loss of revenue the treasury has been subjected to, not to talk about the destruction of our forest reserves; all for the benefit of the minister and her friends.I know that the issue of Kawambwa Tea came in as an after thought to cover up the theft of mukula money. I also don’t want to believe that Zambia only raised k75 million from all those trucks that have been crossing the border.”