TRANSPARENCY International Zambia (TIZ) executive director Maurice Nyambe says the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court acquittal of Health Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya has not come as a surprise, given President Edgar Lungu’s recent attack on the ACC.

And, Nyambe has expressed concern over the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC)’s lack of preparedness to prosecute Dr Chilufya’s corruption case.

In a statement, Tuesday, Nyambe said the minister’s acquittal had not come as a surprise.

“Transparency International Zambia (TI-Z) has noted the decision of the Lusaka Magistrate Court to acquit Minister of Health Dr Chitalu Chilufya on all four charges that were slapped on him. We wish to state that the acquittal has not come as a surprise to us given the different developments including the unexpected testimony that was presented by the Investigation Officer from the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), as well as the recent nuanced remarks made by President Lungu on the general conduct of the fight against corruption. Nonetheless, the decision of the Court, reinforces the essence of the rule of law, where all those who are accused of any wrongdoing are given the opportunity to be heard in a fair and open trial,” Nyambe stated.

Nyambe stated that the ACC’s lack of preparedness in prosecuting Dr Chilufya’s case eroded public confidence.

“We however wish to express our deep concern with the apparent lack of preparedness by the ACC to prosecute this case. We want to underscore the fact that such actions tend to erode public confidence in an important institution such as the ACC. It is nevertheless our fervent hope that in future, the Commission will meticulously prepare for any case that they prosecute in order to avoid such incidents. We therefore implore the ACC to introspect and learn the lessons that this case has provided,” he stated.

And Nyambe urged the commission to remain resolute in executing its legal mandate of fighting corruption without looking at people’s political inclinations.

“On the same score, we would like to encourage the Commission not to be demotivated by this apparent setback, but to remain resolute in executing their legal mandate of fighting corruption regardless of who is involved in the scourge. There is still a lot of work to be done out there and the ACC cannot afford to wallow in self-pity and therefore allow the corrupt to have a field day. This work is not easy but it has to be done and the ACC should continue to serve the nation without fear or favor,” stated Nyambe.