Transparency International Zambia has asked President Edgar Lungu to immediately relieve Housing and Infrastructure Development Minister Ronald Chitotela of his duties so that he can deal with the corruption allegations preferred against him.
And Lusaka lawyer Zaza McQueen has observed that the two cases of concealing property suspected to be proceeds of crime which Chitotela has been charged with are too weak.
In a statement, Tuesday, TIZ president Rueben Lifuka welcomed Chitotela’s arrest saying he believed the ACC had sufficient grounds.
“Transparency International Zambia welcomes the arrest of Hon Chitotela by the Anti Corruption Commission. We want to believe that the ACC has done its homework and have sufficient grounds to effect the arrest. We wish to use this occasion to encourage the ACC and all other law enforcement agencies to do their work without any fear or favour. They have an important role in ridding our country of the rot of corruption and all other wrong doings. In the meantime, we call upon President Lungu to immediately relieve Hon Chitotela of his ministerial duties to allow him attend to this matter,” Lifuka stated.
“Further, it is desirable that the work of the ACC is not fettered by having to deal with a serving Cabinet Minister.”
He asked the ACC to also turn its attention to other scandals such as the purchase of the 42 fire trucks.
“Additionally, we wish to remind the ACC of the many allegations made against government officials, now is the time to respond comprehensively to all allegations including the famous 42 fire tenders- was there any minister or government official involved in this transaction? What about the Top Star saga, the social cash transfer, among others? ACC should ensure that it address all these allegations and only then will the public have confidence in what they are doing,” stated Lifuka.
“It is important that the ACC is above board and not simply used to launder the political image of the PF in the fight against corruption. We want to see action on all these cases and scandals where a lot of questions are still being asked by the public. This is also an opportune time to reiterate our call for President Lungu and all Cabinet Ministers to be subjected to Lifestyle Audits.”
And McQueen has observed that the two cases of concealing property suspected to be proceeds of crime which Chitotela has been charged with are too weak.
“Fighting corruption requires an honest and true attitude in the cause. In this recent arrest of honorable chitotela, ACC is not honest in the fight against corruption. To start with the two offenses he has been charged with are very weak. Hon Chitotela only needs to establish that the property in question does not belong to him. An acquittal is sure,” MaQueen stated in a statement shared on his Facebook page, Wednesday.
“The investigation has taken a period of three (3 ) years, why ? Can one say he has been concealing the property from 2015 to today? Why today? If indeed he was been investigated for alleged corruption, why didn’t ACC recommend for his suspension as minister to pave way for a thorough investigation? This is not the first time ACC instituted investigations against Hon Chitotela, why did ACC stop the investigation after the death of Michael Sata? Are these the only offenses he has committed? Honesty in fighting corruption is very cardinal if we are to win the fight. Anyway, half bread is better than nothing . The above notwithstanding, the arrest of Chitotela by ACC is good as more will come out and that will give leads to arresting others. Every fight results in new development. I wait to see the new developments and implications.”