Southern Africa Network against Corruption (SANAC) Executive Director Gregory Chifire says a number of ministers have become billionaires in the shortest period of time by stealing from the poor Zambians.

And Chifire has observed that Zambia has a lot of educated fools in leadership who think they can develop the nation by overtaxing the poor.

Speaking when he featured on UNZA radio’s Lusaka Star programme yesterday, Chifire observed that some ministers could not explain the wealth they had acquired within the few years of serving in government, adding that Zambians were being made to pay more taxes to sustain their luxury lifestyles.

“We need to question their source of income. Some of them don’t run businesses. Those that run businesses, they are the businesses that used to get contracts from ZESCO, from Police, from Ministry of Home Affairs everywhere where there is money. Those days Zambians used to go and get small deals from Ministry of Home Affairs to supply beans, kapenta but it’s not there anymore,” he observed.

“We could supply cables to ZESCO but it’s not there anymore. It’s the preserve of these same ministers who are billionaires now. But their time will come. Look at the borehole tax. They are saying it’s because they want to regulate. Regulate what? It’s not about regulation it’s about wanting to get money.”

Chifire wondered where people were going to get the water from if the local government was not supplying the commodity.

“They should understand why people are sinking boreholes. People are sinking boreholes because the council has failed to provide water to people’s houses. So how are they going to bath and cook without water? What are they going to drink? So, they sink boreholes. If you want to stop them from sinking boreholes, provide water,” he demanded.

He said since people were desperate to access water, they would painfully pay the borehole drilling fee.

“If you think you can stop people from drilling boreholes, certainly you can’t. Even this K250 they are charging. A borehole is K7500 in Lusaka they will budget for it. They will still do it, so there is no regulation there. The best they could have done was to stop cadres from giving plots. Let the council give plots and these plots must be serviced. Before any tenant moves on site. There should be water first. There should be a sewage system and electricity provided, Chifire said.

“Provide serviced plots then now you can talk about this so called regulation. They just want to get money. Taxes are everywhere and now you want people to be paying health insurance. What health insurance? The other schemes, pension schemes. NAPSA it’s a failure. Whatever name it is a failure. So, you want people to pay again? How many taxes will the people pay?”

Chifire also observed that the levels of corruption were getting worse while some educated fool were focusing on collecting taxes.

“You see, we have educated fools in this country, sorry to use that term. They think government makes money by tax collection. It’s a fallacy it’s not by collecting or increasing taxes. One of the principals of taxation says that tax should be affordable otherwise people won’t pay. The thing they can do is reduce the taxes. Our tax is so high and there are a few people paying, why? Because there are very few people that are working,” Chifire said.

He urged Zambians to stand up for each other to defend their rights and save the country.

“People are talking about whistle blowers being arrested. Those boys from the Mukula incident are whistle blowers they are languishing there. You may say it is them. Next time it might be me. They will find a case, a charge simply because I have talked about corruption. These people are heartless. These people only think about themselves. But one thing they should know is that nothing lasts forever. Only God does,” said Chifire.

“Their time will come and they will answer to these things. Corruption is so rampant. Corruption is as abundant as oxygen. How? It is something unthinkable. We need to address this matter. As a people we have to take it upon ourselves. The time is now that we should rise up, take this fight against corruption seriously. Because it’s not about us. It’s about our children. Let’s report this corruption. Let’s fight this corruption. Let’s join hands and ensure that our country is saved from corruption.”