FORMER attorney general Musa Mwenye says government’s failure to to pay a US $40,000 debt interest repayment to the Eurobond holders is embarrassing and shameful.
In response to a query, Mwenye said that no one was happy with the current situation, but that the country’s default was self-inflicted and deliberate as government was guilty of wasteful expenditure.
“None of us are happy about our country defaulting on a loan. It is nothing to rejoice about and it is actually embarrassing that at this stage of our development, the whole of our government can fail to pay just over US $40 million. I am ashamed and very sad! But this default is self-inflicted and deliberate. Our government has been involved in wasteful expenditure for sometime now. Corruption has also been rampant and has led to overpriced procurements that have not been done in the national interest, but are meant to benefit the pockets of a few corrupt individuals,” Mwenye said.
“We spoke about the procurement of over-priced fire engines at US $42 million when they could have been purchased at US $3.5 million only. Did our leaders listen? No! We spoke about the purchase of ambulances at over US $280,000 each when they could have been bought at US $50,000 each! Did our leaders listen? No! We spoke about the unnecessary purchase of the Presidential Gulf Stream plane. Did our leaders listen? No! We raised issues on the revelations of over US $800 million being attributed to corruption in just 3 years as revealed in the FIC reports. Did our leaders listen? No! Now we are being embarrassed like this?”
And he said that the only way to revive Zambia’s economy was to stop the financial leakages in government caused by corruption.
“There is no way we can continue to turn a blind eye to this! How can we be failing to pay just US $40 million nkongole when some of our ministers were boasting that K2,000,000 is nothing! My advice to the government, through the honourable Minister of Finance (Dr Bwalya Ng’andu) is that you cannot fix this economy without first stopping the leakages caused by corruption, wastefulness and irresponsible expenditure. We cannot continue seeing our leaders becoming instant millionaires when they get into government when we are failing to pay just US $40 million. It is embarrassing, honestly,” said Mwenye.