Green Party leader Peter Sinkamba says State House may not be aware that public servants squandered money on the New York trip in 2005 using the name of the President.

In an interview, Sinkamba urged President Edgar Lungu to strictly scrutinise members of his delegation to avoid wasting taxpayers money.

“Many times the President may not even be aware that these things are happening. But you find that the people that have custody of that money may want to do their own things, and this is where we have that cancer. And if the President is not strict now, you will find that such kind of money gets wasted just like that, which is extremely unfortunate,” Sinkamba said.

“My only advise to the president is that if he needs to take responsibility, he must ensure that when he is traveling abroad, he does a double check to see who is on the delegation. Otherwise, he may find himself in a situation where they dent his name, these civil servants. How and why they are building mansions in Lusaka is through things like that. Money which is generally budgeted for by the people of Zambia to be used in contingency ends up in being misused just like that. And the president may find himself a victim of circumstances because at the end of the day, people will come and say ‘this is the President who was there. Like as it is now, people are pointing a finger at the President that he was having those boat cruises and things like that and maybe he is even clueless that those things ever happened.”

And Sinkamba said public resources were being wasted because thieves had dominated the governance system.

“They could have used the money when he doesn’t even know [that] they had gone to socialize. He comes back he is clueless because the reconciliation is not done with the President, the reconciliation is done with Cabinet Office. And if there is a discourse between the President and Cabinet Office, you will find that there will be a lot of abuse of funds in the name of the president. So really I think this must be a wake up call to the President,” he said.

“So the delegation that accompanies the President should always be scrutinised before the trip and must do personal clearance because these guys can do a lot of things in the name of the President without the President authorizing. It is goodwill that these officers are going to do things in a very professional manner and they are not thieves, but in between you have brought a lot of thieves in the system,” said Sinkamba.