TRANSPARENCY International Zambia (TIZ) president Rueben Lifuka says President Edgar Lungu should consider relieving Minister of Health Minister Dr Chitalu Chilulya of his duties and allow him to focus on his corruption case.

Yesterday, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) arrested Dr Chilulya on four counts of being in possession of property suspected to be proceeds of crime.

In a statement, Lifuka appealed to President Lungu to relieve Chilufya of his duties as was the case with Emerine Kabanshi.

“In order to ensure that the prosecution and conduct of this matter is above board, we again call on President Lungu to consider relieving the Minister of Health of his duties and allow him first and foremost, to focus on this case and secondly, to insulate his own government from unfortunate distractions which this case may present if the said Minister remains in his office. We do not agree that President Lungu should only do what is legal when making such a decision but he should also do what is morally right. In any case, President Lungu himself has previously fired one of his own Cabinet Ministers, Hon Emerine Kabanshi on mere allegations of impropriety. President Lungu should consider the greater need to ensure that Cabinet maintains a high level of probity and serves as a model to the rest of the public service,” Lifuka stated.

He stated that there is no need for President Lungu to continue remaining undecided on cases involving those in authority.

“We want to reiterate our call for lifestyle audits for all Cabinet Ministers, the President and the Vice-President. The various cases of alleged impropriety against senior government officials fortify our consistent call for lifestyle audits and there is no need for the continued dithering from those in authority. We call on ACC, Office of the Auditor General and all relevant authorities to quickly develop the mechanism of conducting these audits,” Lifuka added.

He further urged the ACC to continue discharging its duties in the interest of the public.

“We want to welcome the decision by the ACC to arrest Hon Chilufya and it is our fervent hope that the necessary ground work has been done and there is a good basis to pursue this course of action. We do recognise henceforth that Hon Chilufya now has an opportunity to mount his defence before the courts of law and seek to clear his name. This decision should be in furtherance of the ideals of entrenching transparency and accountability in the discharge of public service. We will continue to prod ACC to continue to discharge its duties without fear or favour and to focus only on serving national interests and nothing else,” stated Lifuka.

“The executive arm of government should take recognition of the fact that for the judiciary, judges are suspended whenever prima facie cases are established against them as provided for in Article 144 in the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) No 2 of 2016. Similarly, in Article 83, where a motion is supported by a resolution of two thirds of the Members of Parliament, the Speaker or Deputy Speaker shall be suspended from office and the matter referred to a parliamentary committee. We therefore ask the question, why should Cabinet Ministers be treated differently?”