CHOMA Central UPND member of parliament Cornelius Mweetwa says PF is mocking Zambians over the repayment salaries illegally obtained by former ministers in 2016.

Commenting on Finance Minister Dr Bwalya Ng’andu remarks that he was unaware whether the money owed by the former ministers was paid as earlier claimed by PF secretary general Davies Mwila, Mweetwa said Mwila could not be trusted on the matter because he was also an interested party.

“So, this is a mockery to the people of Zambia. It’s to show to the people of Zambia that they are in power and they can do whatever it pleases them. They can decide to pay at their own convenience. If the Minister of Finance is saying, ‘he is not aware,’ we cannot trust what the SG is saying. We cannot trust what Davies Mwila is saying. Of course, he is one of the interested parties because he is one of those who served illegally and got paid illegally. So, we do not know in which capacity he is talking because the issue is about those ministers, who remained in office illegally. So, we will take what the (Finance) Minister has said as the truth because he is the one, who is in charge of the Treasury,” Mweetwa said in an interview.

He, however, cautioned that the Executive would be held to account at the next sitting of Parliament whether or not the money owed was fully paid.

“The Minister is trying to be cautious, saying that for as long as he has doesn’t have that proof, he wouldn’t want to commit that they have paid because he knows that when Parliament resumes, whenever it shall resume, we will on the floor of the House demand that the Executive brings evidence on the floor of the House to attest to those payments. Because remember, we have been pushing for this matter that these ministers pay. On the floor of the House, there is no hiding place because at Parliament, we deal with facts, there is no partisan politics. At Parliament, it is the National Assembly holding the Executive to account. In this particular instance, we will be expecting the Executive to account to the people of Zambia through Parliament by bringing evidence to show that those, who owed money to government have duly paid. We think it will not be an enormous task for such evidence to be adduced before the floor of the House,” Mweetwa added.

He also said that there was need for well wishers that paid on behalf of the ex-ministers to be identified.

“Going on what the Minister of Finance said, the PF has well wishers and some of them are genuine well wishers and sympathisers. Others might be looking for rewards through kick-backs, such as the award of contracts, tenders like we have seen funny contracts that have ended up being controversial. So, when that ‘Father Christmas’ is not disclosed to weigh in and see whether they are credible or, indeed, genuine supporters of the PF and in which right they support the PF. One would think that it could be these interested organisations, those who think that, ‘let’s come to the aid of the ministers, they are the ones who sit on decision-making tables to decide to award contracts to us or not.’ If that is the situation, it is very unfortunate,” said Mweetwa.

“I have been personally let down and I think many Zambians have been let down by the responses that have come from some of the Ministers that in the past we had a lot of respect for, trying to paint a gloomy picture that paying K57,000 is a tall order. The ruling of the Court was not made yesterday, this is a ruling, which was made a long time ago. They have had time to save; they have had time to pay. They got paid illegally, in a space of three to four months. This court ruling was made over a year ago. The court ruling has been standing for over one year. Even the value, now, which they have been made to pay has been lost in monetary terms because of the plummeting value of the kwacha.”