GOVERNANCE Activist Brebner Changala says the ruling Patriotic Front thinks Zambians are idiots who can be fooled by money laundering tricks like the one in which the party claims a named company has paid back illegal salaries on behalf of ex-ministers.

In an interview, Changala said it is organised stupidity for the PF to try and make people believe that under such an economic crisis there can be a benevolent company that can pay millions to the government on behalf of the ruling party without any corresponding benefit.

He charged that PF is a criminal organisation which is feasting on the national treasury, presided over by President Edgar Lungu.

On Saturday, PF secretary general Davies Mwila said some individuals and companies from the ruling party had cleared all former ministers’ debt except for NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili and his DP counterpart Harry Kalaba.

“I think you are all aware that the Constitutional Court had made a judgment that former ministers pay emoluments received between May 2016 and August 2016. Our reconciliation of the payments made in view of the judgment, some has been settled by our members. I would like to thank the individuals who were affected by this judgment and took the responsibility upon themselves to pay. This was done despite them having worked during this period. This indeed is a selfless service that was done by the Zambian people,” said Mwila.

“I would like to thank the companies and individuals that have made donations towards the settlement of emoluments deal in recognition with the service rendered by the former ministers during the said period. As a party, we remain committed to the tenets of the rule of law. Individuals who are members of the party and companies have paid for all the ministers who were owing money to the government. I want to say that except honourable (Chishimba) Kambwili and honourable (Harry) Kalaba, they have to pay for themselves. But all those who are members of the party, money has been paid for.”

But Changala Challenged the party to name the benevolent company.

“I rise to question the conduct of our ruling Patriotic Front as a party in government. There is a constitutional ruling that ministers who overstayed in their ministerial portfolios after the dissolution of parliament should pay back what they drew as salaries and allowances. It is surprisingly interesting that some of the accused ministers and former ministers voluntarily went to the bank and liquidated their indebtedness in honour. And on the other side, there is a group of serving ministers and their cronies who have gone to court to seek the variation of this refund so that they are given ample time. Now, knowing the ruling party has come to convince itself that the people of Zambia are nothing but idiots, the secretary general of the PF has come out publicly without coercion to clearly state that the party, though a donor, a businessman, have liquidated the debt of former ministers and all those who stayed in office prior to the 2016 general elections,” Changala said in an interview.

“I, as a citizen, know very well that the business atmosphere, the business condition of this country is so dilapidated and it does not allow a genuine business enterprise to have extra resources and funds to go and resolve political contentious issues such as the overstaying of office illegally. I demand on behalf of every citizen which business entity is this? Are we now seeing that all those corrupt deals and dealers have regrouped to save PF from leaving power so as to save their business entities? For there is no business worth its salt in this country, that includes the Zambian treasury, itself it has no money to spare and where is benevolence coming from from these successive business entities? I want to put up a very important inquiry we have issues of Honey Bee and how the contracts were being granted, we have issues with fire tenders, we have issues with a lot of corrupt deals that have happened which can be easily found in the Financial Intelligence Center Report for the last three years and here we see a situation where the PF secretary general makes a serious revelation that there are some friendly companies that are financing and liquidating the debt of individual PF surrogates, PF ministers and who are these businessmen?”

And Changala charged that PF was a criminal organisation feasting on the national treasury.

“This is a matter that must invite the Drug Enforcement Commission, the Anti-Corruption Commission, you have a key witness in the name of Davies Mwila who has come openly that there is money laundering elsewhere to cleanse the PF as a party and its membership. It is not difficult for one to direct his mind and thoughts that the whole grand corruption that has happened in this country has been engineered by PF as a political party in order to amass wealth and capture the suffering citizens. This is the money we are seeing in massive cash donations which the MPs and ministers are throwing around in an ailing economy, this is the money realised from corrupt activities. PF as a political party is not a business entity and yet it has more money than the treasury. You don’t need a rocket scientist to understand that PF is a criminal organisation that is feasting on our national treasury through unprecedented corruption presided over by President Edgar Chagwa Lungu as a don,” he said.

“President Lungu is at the helm of this banditry. We should have seen the [Andrew] Ntewewes, the talkative [Chilufya] Tayalis if UPND as a political party had to release such kind of money to bail out their MPs, you would have seen people marching and asking for investigations and the arrest of Hakainde Hichilema. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. PF is a criminal organisation that must be subjected to the law, it must be investigated. It has more money than the treasury, more money than the country, how possible is that? The revelation by the PF secretary General is timely and beneficial to the law enforcement agencies, and this is the matter that must be expeditiously be investigated and it is very easy to get to the root. The monies were paid in a government control account. So it is very easy to trace the account. I know because I have got friends as ministers that these ministers in government, directors and permanent secretaries that they no longer bank the money in the banking system, they are keeping cash in their homes. They are the leading launderers in this country.”

Changala also challenged PF ministers to show the people of Zambia cheques which they used whenever they made extravagant donations.

“Even the donations that you see coming out of the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Joseph Malanji) and Bowman Lusambo (Lusaka Province Minister), I challenge them to show the people of Zambia where they signed a cheque to draw the money from a bank only to go and show it publicly in form of a donation. Malanji says he is a businessman, there is no business man who can run a business without a bank account. They must show us where they drew that money, K400,000 because the limit we can draw is K25,000 on a cheque, the rest you must do what they are calling bank transfer. How are they managing to withdraw K400,000 and go and flash it out? It is pure money laundering and all these guys are all guilty,” said Changala.

“Can ZRA show us their tax returns to these rich ministers? How much are they contributing to the treasury through taxes? The goodness with money it leaves a trail. I want to warn Kingsley Chanda that he has been following little businessmen who are struggling for them to pay tax to the point of closing companies. He has looked the other way round when these successful businessmen are not paying tax. And most importantly, after making these huge donations, they turn around that they have no money to return to the treasury for staying in the office and they go to court. Even if you don’t respect people that you are leading, that is the highest contempt you can place on the electorates. That is organised stupidity which is not anchored on honour and integrity. You have money for campaigns but you don’t have money to return to the treasury. We are being governed by a gang of thieves and elected criminal masquerading as leaders.”