ActionAid Zambia country director Nalucha Ziba has wondered why former Community Development and Social Services Minister Emerine Kabanshi was arrested over the social cash transfer scandal when government had earlier stated that the said funds were intact in a ZANACO account.

And Ziba has demanded that government should release the audit report arising from an inquiry which President Edgar Lungu had ordered.

In an interview, Ziba said Kabanshi’s arrest contradicted government’s earlier position.

“ActionAid Zambia questions why the former Minister of Community Development and Social Services, Honorable Emmerine Kabanshi has been arrested. This comes as a contradiction to earlier statements by Government which denied the alleged misappropriation of donor funds for the social cash transfer programme stating that the funds were intact in a Zambia National Commercial Bank (ZANACO) account, where it had been sitting since December 2017. This brings us to question why the arrest has taken place. Was it necessitated by the fact that the donor’s funds were not spent but remained intact in ZANACO account or was it that government mobilized money and manipulated the banking procedures?” Ziba asked.

And Ziba demanded that government should release the audit report.

“ActionAid demands government to release the report on findings of SCT mismanagement as directed by His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu! The media has seen numerous misleading and contradictory statements over the alleged misappropriation and we believe, it is the duty of those entrusted with the power to govern to inform the citizens of Zambia. As we are all aware, Social Cash Transfers are meant for the very poor and it is government’s mandate to ensure that donor funds allocated for such, benefits the intended beneficiaries and that the funds are fully accounted for. AAZ believes in the rule of law but more so in justice. Those entrusted with public resources must be held accountable. ActionAid continues to stand in solidarity with the poor and welcomes the stance that government has taken but still demands that the status of the funds is made clear and that thorough investigations are taken to bring all culprits to book regardless of their status,” said Ziba.