State House says there are no standing rules compelling the Head of State to suspend or fire a minister who is facing corruption allegations.
President Edgar Lungu’s Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations Isaac Chipampe said this in relation to Health Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya who is under investigation for alleged abuse of office in relation to multiple properties that he allegedly owns.
When asked why President Lungu was failing to act on Chilufya as he did on former Community Development Minister Emerine Kabanshi, Chipampe said it was up to the Head of State’s discretion.
“There is no such standing rules; there are no standing rules that he (Dr Chilufya) should be suspended if he is being suspected of wrongdoing. I don’t know where it is written like that. That [Emerine Kabanshi case] was the discretion of the President. This is not the President’s job; it is the job of the ACC to prosecute, which they are already doing. So, it is not the President to aid the ACC in their job. So, the President is allowing the ACC to do their job; it is an independent institution,” replied Chipampe.
He said the fact that ACC had recorded a warn and caution statement from Dr Chilufya indicated that the institution was independent.
“I think the prosecution process has been started by the Anti-Corruption Commission so the President will leave the Anti-Corruption Commission to do their work. The fact that they called him and there was a warn and caution shows that they (ACC) are independent and the President cannot interfere, just like the Minister, himself, cannot not interfere,” Chipampe said.
“So, the process has started; the Minister was warned and cautioned. Note that the fact that the process has started from the Anti-Corruption Commission shows that they are an independent body and no one can interfere in their work because if there was any sign of interference, they wouldn’t even have started the process. But they have started the process. He is not the only Minister, who has been prosecuted before; there are others before him.”