Former Justice minister Wynter Kabimba says it is shocking to hear how some people are condemning Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo for exposing corruption.
In an interview with News Diggers! Kabimba who is also Rainbow Party General Secretary said there was need to introduce a specialised unit under the office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) to be responsible for investigating and prosecuting white collar crimes in Zambia.
Meanwhile Kabimba says there is no corruption that is too little or insignificant.
“I was surprised by the response from people that from what I came to learn later, of condemning the minister for Lusaka Province that the way he went about it was wrong, that he embarrassed that police officer, [that] you don’t know that this could lead to her committing suicide. So what do the people want? Corruption is corruption. Corruption is like sin, there is no small sin and there is no big sin in the Bible. The Bible just uses one word ‘sin.’ Whether you have stolen K1 you have sinned, whether somebody has stolen $1 million, they have sinned and I think that applies to corruption. Corruption is corruption,” Kabimba said.
He reiterated the need to have a specialized unit introduced under the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP’s) office to be responsible for investigating and prosecuting white collar crimes.
“The officer who was involved in that incident was engaged in acts of corruption. Extorting money from motorists, and some of these motorists are poor motorists and the way they go about it is that they will make you park by the side of the road even for two hours until they are able to extort that money from you. So how can somebody who exposes that kind of iniquity be condemned?” he wondered.
“I don’t understand myself. And we can’t argue. Even the argument that ‘no, but you are going for the small flies leaving out the big flies’ and this is a matter of evidence. White collar crime all over the world is very difficult to fight. In fact when I was Minister of Justice, I was coming up with a proposal that we must have a specialised unit in the DPP’s chambers to investigate and prosecute white collar crime because what is perpetuated in government offices by ministers, by permanent secretaries, by directors is invariably white-collar crime.”
He said the approach used in fighting open corruption, like that committed by traffic police officers needed to be different from the approach used in fighting white-collar crimes committed by those in high offices.
“What the police officer does along the road is open corruption crime. So it is easier for you to catch that one than it is to catch a PS [or] than it is to catch the minister of government. And that is why my view is that if we are going to fight corruption at the highest level which manifest itself in terms of white-collar crime, we need a specialised unit. And we discussed this matter with Musa Mwenye (former Attorney general) and Mutembo Nchito when he was DPP and we identified this problem because some of the acquittals that we see in the subordinate court are not because people are not guilty. It is because the people that are prosecuting and the people that are investigating have not been trained enough in the area of white-collar crime, to investigate white-collar crime and to prosecute white-collar crime,” Kabimba said.
He suggested that there should be advanced training for state advocates that have just been admitted to the bar especially when it comes to handling big cases.
“You can’t get a police officer who is trained to prosecute a traffic offence and take him to go and prosecute an offense of embezzlement or misappropriation of funds under the Auditor General’s report. Or a state advocate who has just come out of the university today or out of ZIALE and give her a complicated case of fraud. My view is that these people need to go for advanced training and that is what the developed countries have done. And if you have followed what is happening in the United States now with Donald Trump’s people around like Manford and others, when they begin investigations and when they catch up with somebody, they have clear evidence and that is why you see some of them they will just quickly plead guilty,” said Kabimba.
“I think we must invest money in training a specialised unit in the police service and in the DPP’s chambers to prosecute white-collar crime. There are many people in this country that have gotten away with it not because they are not guilty but because the people prosecuting do not have the professional competence to prosecute these people, because the people that are investigating do not have the proficiency and the competence to investigate such offences. Because of that, it has become very difficult and it will remain very difficult to fight white-collar crime i.e. corruption at the highest level.”