Acting ACC director general Rosemary Khuzwayo says there has been a drop in the number of people reporting corruption cases to the institution, and the commission does not understand why.

And Transparency International Zambia chapter president Rueben Lifuka has launched the 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), revealing that Zambia has become one of the worst performing countries in Southern Africa.

Speaking during the launch of the index at Lusaka’s Cresta Golfview hotel, Tuesday, Khuzwayo said she was surprised that people had stopped reporting corruption.

“Corruption has continued to be a great concern to good governance in Zambia. But this is not just a Zambian problem but it’s a global challenge. Experience has shown us that political will is cardinal, so we need government’s participation or just the political will for us to successfully fight corruption. There is a drop in the number of reports that we are getting from members of the public. We do not understand why there is a drop but there is a significant drop in the number of cases of corruption which are being reported. People are not really reporting on corruption,” Khuzwayo said.

She said huge sums of money were lost through kickbacks in Zambia.

“Then evidence also shows that in Zambia, huge amounts of monies are lost through kick-backs compared to other corruption avenues such as abuse of office. Another area of major concern for the ACC includes procurement in the manner in which contracts are awarded for roads and buildings; I think there is a problem there that we need to work on. Related to procurement also is the issue of the purchase of goods and services, how contracts are being awarded,” observed Khuzwayo.

“We’ve also identified recruitment as an area of concern, how are teachers being recruited, how are soldiers and…how are just civil servants being recruited? The other type of corruption that we identifies is the corruption that obtains at points of public service delivery when you are seeking services from a government institution, what things are you made to do that are not allowed and what things are you being asked to pay? So that’s another area of concern. So as can be seen, there is need for concerted efforts to deal with the challenge.”

And Lifuka said sub-saharan Africa did not put up a strong fight against corruption.

“The top most country [in fighting corruption] is Denmark which scored 88 out of 100, taking over from New Zealand which has come second with 87 out of 100. Meanwhile, Finland, Singapore, Sweden and Switzerland scored 85 out of 100. At the bottom of the 180 countries included in the Survey, Somalia is last with only 10 marks while Syria and South Sudan scored 13 each and Sudan and North Korea scored 14 out of 100. Sub-Saharan countries have the least scores, our highest score is 32 out of a 100. So the lowest scoring region is Sub-Saharan Africa, followed by Latin American then European region.” explained Lifuka.

“But most troubling is that 16 countries significantly decreased the scores including Australia, Chile, Hungary, Turkey and I dare to say Zambia and 35 out of a 100 is where our score is, we have dropped by two points from the 2017 CPI. On the CPI 2018, we are ranked 105 out of 180 and we’ve dropped nine places. But of significance, in the last two years, we’ve dropped three points. In 2017 we dropped by one point and in 2018 we dropped by two points. We were static at 38 for a number of years and then we went to 37, now we are at 35, that should be a matter of concern. We can console ourselves and say there are only 17 countries that rank higher than Zambia in Sub-Saharan Africa and we perform better than 31 countries in the region. But what we see as TI is that where corruption seeps in the democratic system, particularly at the higher levels of power, democratic institutions suffer as corrupt leaders actively work to protect themselves from prosecution and use their power for private gain.”

Meanwhile UNDP country director Mandisa Mashologu regretted that corruption deprived the people development.

“Money lost to corruption is essentially development lost to those at risk of being left behind. Globally, the accumulated lost budgetary resources due to corruption whether it’s through bribes or the diversion of funds or illicit financial flows… these exceed an estimated USD10 trillion, which could possibly end our road to poverty by 2030. From a human development perspective, people freedoms, their choices and opportunities continue to be undermined by corrupt practices that distort income distribution and public expenditure decisions,” said Mashologu.