Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) public relations manager Timothy Moono says the commission has taken interest in corruption allegations involving dismissed Zambia Air Force Commander Eric Chimese and that the Commission will soon decide whether to carry out its own investigations.
And Moono says the commission has been failing to properly investigate corruption cases from the Auditor General’s report because evidence usually goes missing.
In an interview with News Diggers! in Lusaka, Wednesday, Moono said the commission would soon decide whether to investigate Chimese following the corruption allegations reports against him.
“We have taken note of the publicity regarding the issues relating to the Zambia Airforce Commander and we are looking into that, meaning that, we are not investigating yet, we don’t just begin investigating. We take note first and if there is information that requires us under our mandate to take action, we take action. So right now, we have taken note of all these revelations and what is happening, and we are looking at that. Maybe other institutions are working because we don’t want to duplicate efforts. So, when we take note, it’s the time to begin to liaise with our colleagues to find out who is doing what and so on. And yes, I did mention that we took six cases out of the FIC and those have been under investigations. And I think last week I mentioned that we will in due course announce with these cases and how far we have gone investigating them,” he said.
And Moono said the commission had been failing to properly investigate corruption cases from the Auditor General’s report because evidence goes missing before ACC lays its hands on it.
“It’s quite good and very important that the auditor general’s office particularly the supreme audit institutions are meeting here in Zambia and under the theme of fighting corruption. We are grateful as the Anti-Corruption Commission because the problem of corruption is not new to Zambia. And this is something that as Zambia we really need to work hard to deal with the problem. Recently we just launched the Zambia bribe payers index which shows different problems of corruption where people who had experience with corruption indicated where the problem of corruption is and we saw that the report indicates that the most educated are the most likely to pay corruption bribes. But we also saw that the most vulnerable, those that have less money but because they are seeking for a service, are most willing to also pay bribes,” he said.
“One of the issues like I indicated was that as the audits are happening, and if we leave the audits to a point where only reports are given at the end of the audit, the evidence that has been uncovered through the audits goes missing at times. We have seen that in most cases, this is what happens, after an audit or prior to an audit, individuals who are bent on corruption, those that know that they were involved in some dubious activities in the institution will tend to hide the evidence or make the evidence unavailable during the audits. And that is our problem. So, when the Auditor General conducts the audits and the commission comes to investigate, sometimes you find that the evidence is not there. So that is a big challenge and that is how this MoU is expected to be further strengthened so that as audits are happening, they come across the corruption, they quickly inform us, we move in for investigations conducting investigations and we secure that evidence.”
He expressed optimism that the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Commission and the Auditor Generals office would improve information sharing in the fight against corruption.
“But then when you look at the audits, its about the institutions now and what they are doing to fight corruption. Are they working to avert corruption through the internal audit systems? Or is it the national audit institution where the problems are? Are we going to reach a point where we only uncover the problems and not deal with them? So, it is good that this workshop goes further than just finding the problems. I’m happy that the anti-corruption commission with the Auditor General’s office have a memorandum of understanding. And this memorandum of understanding is about information sharing,” said Moono.
“The most critical part for us as investigative wings is to have evidence that we can tender is the courts because you know that a case in court has to be proved beyond reasonable doubt. Where there is a shade of doubt, a case cannot be proven in court so, we are glad that there is this workshop to deal with this this issue.”