People who are corrupt are greedy to the core and whether you give them the whole world, they will continue stealing because they are not satisfied with the wealth of the world, says Justice Minister Given Lubinda.
Speaking when he winded up debates on the 2020 budgetary allocation to the judiciary in Parliament, Friday, Lubinda also said immorality for some people is engrained in their DNA.
Lubinda was reacting to Choma Central UPND member of parliament Cornelius Mweetwa who, in his debate, suggested that there was theft of exhibits in the judiciary because of the poor emoluments for staff.
To this, Lubinda disagreed, saying poverty was not a licence to theft, and that the corrupt have immorality embedded in their nervous system.
“I was very perturbed to hear a member of this House who at one stage took over as chairman of the African Parliamentarians Network against Corruption (APNAC) from me, saying there is theft of exhibits in the judiciary because of the poor emoluments for members of the judiciary. Madam, for a person who has postured as a champion in the fight against corruption to say that, and especially a person who calls himself [as a] senior member of this House, creates anxiety for me and I am sure for many Zambians. Should anyone claim that poverty is a license to theft, should anybody in this House claim that there are poor conditions of service, therefore, people are corrupt, are you sure that Honourable [Cornelius] Mweetwa is aware that there are people who are extremely wealthy who are still corrupt,” Lubinda asked.
He said it was demeaning to the judiciary to accuse them of being corrupt because of poor conditions of service.
“We are talking about immorality, and immorality is not created by poverty. Immorality for some people is engrained in their nervous system [or] in their DNA. People who are corrupt are greedy to the core. And whether you give them the whole world, they will still look for another world because they are not satisfied with the wealth of the world. And to come here and generalise it that people in the judiciary are corrupt because of the poor conditions of service is to demean this very important institution,” Lubinda said.
“Let me say [that] I am extremely upset that we have members of parliament who don’t realise that this is a people’s Parliament and people out there are listening. I wouldn’t be this upset if it was the Executive that was being attacked because we are here we can defend ourselves.”
And reacting to Monze Central UPND member of parliament Jack Mwiimbu who praised the judiciary for ordering former ministers to pay, Lubinda advised Mwiimbu to also encourage his clients to apologise for speaking against the judiciary.
“Honourable Mwiimbu, I would like to commend him, for once in a while congratulating the judiciary. He congratulated the judiciary only for one ruling [which] he referred to it himself as the ruling on the matter of ministers staying in office. How I wish in congratulating the judiciary, Honourable Jack Mwiimbu could also go to his clients and say to them ‘now that you have seen that the judiciary is also capable of coming up with judgements against the executive, can you withdraw all the bad words you sued against them when they made judgements against us.’ Had he been honourable enough, he would have done that. And I hope that in the hearts of hearts, he knows that he only congratulated him because of one judgement which suits his desires without apologising for the many times that his clients have called judges in Zambia all sorts of names,” said Lubinda.