The anti Corruption Commission chairperson justice Anderson Zikonda has attributed the failure by the commission to explicitly carry out its duties to the lack of funding to the institution.
And Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) president Rueben Lifuka says results from the latest Zambia Bribe Payers’ Index (ZBPI) Survey Report shows that the highest bribe seeking incidences are experienced in the Zambia police service with 41.7percent, followed by RTSA with 14.2 percent
Speaking during the launch of the Zambia Bribe payers Index in Lusaka, Wednesday, Justice Zikonda said the fight against graft could not be left to the ACC alone as they are poorly funded.
“It is important for every citizen to uphold integrity, honesty and truthfulness in our dealings. This is the record I want to emphasise this. We all have to fight corruption. You cannot leave corruption to one institution. It is everybody’s business, it begins in our homes, in our working places if we detest corruption, then this country will be a better place. You do know the consequences of corruption that it denies resources to go to the appropriate development of our nation. Especially you press men, I want you to preach anti Corruption, write good articles about corruption. It is very important, it is our duty, it is everybody’s duty and should never be left to one organization,” he noted.
“Yes we appreciate we are the lead organisation so we will take it and do our best but we cannot achieve a corruption free status if every citizen in his country can go and corrupt another one and another accepts corruption. We will not be everywhere, the anti Corruption Commission is poorly funded, we do not have resources to be in every corner of this country.”
He further added that the commission remained committed to increasing efforts in enforcement function, and adopting new methods, technologies and best practices for curbing the vice.
“And the commission remains resolved towards addressing the corruption scourge and is determined to ensure that the current upward trend is reversed. The commission will increase its efforts in its enforcement function, that is investigations and prosecution of suspected offenders and adopt new methods, technologies and best practices for curbing the vice in order to effectively deal with ever changing complexities of corruption. The commission will also strengthen partnerships with stakeholders both public and private in order to enhance stakeholder participation in the fight against corruption and further assist institutions both public and private in the formation of integrity committees as a way of tackling institutional corruption. With these interventions, it is anticipated that funds allowing, the fight against corruption in Zambia will yield the desired result,” explained Justice Zikonda.
And Lifuka applauded government departments and agencies, such as the Immigration Department, Ministry of Finance, PACRA and NAPSA, among others, as results from the Index showed that there were low or no possibilities for people paying bribes when seeking services at these institutions.
Speaking at the Launch of the Report at Government Complex in Lusaka, Wednesday, Lifuka revealed that results from the Index showed that 40.7 per cent of Zambia Police Traffic section were still receiving bribes from members of the public, an improvement from around 63.9 per cent.
“We are encouraged to seek some positive trends in the Bribe Payers’ Index for some critical target institutions like the Zambia Police Traffic section, which previously had 63.9 per cent likelihood of the public paying a bribe, dropping to 40.7 per cent. While this is commendable, this is still a high number and, worryingly, the probability of paying bribes has significantly increased for other sections of Zambia Police. We want to call on the Police Command to devise medium and long-term plans to address this problem of corruption in the police service. Corrupt police officers do not deserve to be part of the service, and we challenge the police command to be decisive and weed out all officers engaged in bribery. Establish a hotline where the public can report corrupt police officers, strengthen training and in-service training of all police officers, and take timely actions against all those who fall short of professional standards,” Lifuka urged.
“We are concerned with entities like RTSA, the local authorities, Ministry of General Education and Ministry of Higher Education, as well as National Registration Office, Passport Office and Ministry of Lands, where high levels of bribe seeking behaviour has been noted. Leadership of each one of these poorly-performing entities on the ZBPI should rise to the occasion and act on these findings.”
He revealed that youths between the ages of 26 and 35 paid the most bribes whenever asked to do so.
Lifuka further, applauded government departments and agencies, such as the Immigration Department, Ministry of Finance, PACRA and NAPSA, among others, as results from the Index showed that there were low or no possibilities for people paying bribes when sought services at these institutions.
“There is a glimmer of hope that with consistent action, we can rid our institutions of bribery. We want to applaud government departments and agencies like the Immigration Department, Ministry of Finance, Patents and Companies Registration Agency, NAPSA, Public Service Pensions Fund, Ministry of Works and Supply and Zamtel, where the results show there are lower or no probabilities of paying bribes by the public seeking services. This is encouraging and we would like to commend these institutions for the measures they are taking to curb bribery. We would like to encourage them to continue to cement organisational cultures that will be anchored on a zero tolerance to bribery and other forms of corruption. Do not relent and remain beacons of hope to the public,” Lifuka noted.
He called for stronger political will to deal with the scourge of rampant corruption.
“Now is the time for strong political will as well as unwavering leadership with the foresight to deal with a scourge that has the potential to steal the future of posterity. The success in the fight against corruption will only be possible when every Zambian assumes ownership in holding duty bearers to account and voicing out against all those who are corrupt, regardless of their positions in society,” said Lifuka.
And vice president Inonge Wina, in a speech read on her behalf by minister in the office of the Vice President Olipa Phiri, has called on civil society to use the findings of the 2019 Zambia Pride Payers Index in devising their anti Corruption measures and advocacy.
“I call upon the private sector and civil society organisations to take keen interest in the 2019 ZBPI findings and recommendations and use them in devising their anti Corruption measures and advocacy strategies. May I also take this opportunity to encourage our cooperating partners to continue supporting government efforts in the fight against corruption. Distinguished guests, you may be aware that our national anti Corruption slogan is ‘A corruption free Zambia begins with me’. This implies that the fight against corruption can only succeed if it starts at a personal level,” noted Wina.
Meanwhile, the report has revealed that the highest bribe seeking incidences are experienced in the Zambia police service with 41.7percent , followed by RTSA with 14.2 percent and the reasons for paying a bribe in service based bribery experiences are predominantly to avoid delays in getting a service.
“With respect to actual service sought, in Zambia police service bribes are paid more to avoid penalties or sanctions in traffic related services. In RTSA, local authorities, ministries of general and higher education, paying a bribe to avoid delays is most common,” read the report.