NKEYEMA UPND member of parliament Kapelwa Mbangweta says the PF’s massive and frequent cash donations to unsuspecting citizens around the country is tantamount to money laundering because there is no accountability.
Commenting on Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo’s K300,000 cash donation to Kabushi residents made on behalf of President Edgar Lungu for the construction of Kapalala Market, Mbangweta said the unrestrained splashing of funds to unsuspecting residents was tantamount to money laundering.
He insisted that Zambia needed a transparent trail and audit for cash donations such as the one witnessed in Kabushi constituency to establish where the funds emanated from and what their true purpose was.
“You cannot have government officers playing with money when in fact government workers are being paid late and some of them not at all! Money must be auditable, there must be a trail. Now, If you have government Ministers who are not even controlling officers giving money at a market, how does that work? They are supposed to lead by example to make sure that the banking system in relation to instructions, the relation that everything should be under banks is complied with. When you start giving money like that in a plastic bag, what impression are you giving? Where is the money coming from? Where did he get it from? His impression, then, is that he went to his boss who gave him the money in a plastic…Because I saw him saying that, ‘now I am reporting.’ It’s lawlessness! But at the end of the day, we are the people who are contributing to that because of our docility. This is probably the only country in the whole world where you can give money at the market like that, which has no audit trail,” Mbangwetwa said in an interview.
“Imagine those people who were given that money, do you think that money can be used constructively? Because immediately he left, the people would have started fighting! So, accountability, where did he get the money from and who gave it to him? Let us assume that it is government money or Zambian money given through the taxes that we pay, is that how we want to see our money being handled without accountability? Can you see why Honeybee can even be given US $17 million, this morning I am reading there are 19 other drugs, which are being recalled. And the citizens are seated because that is the relationship between that US $17 million and that money we saw in the overall scheme of things that, now, there is no accountability. Then people are seated, what sort of people are we? It is really irresponsible! In hospitals and clinics, there are so many shortages of things, which government must provide but we don’t see those things. It is really heartbreaking!”
Mbangwetwa, who is also a human resources expert, added that the donation for the construction of the market also breached standard procurement regulations.
“How is money laundering defined in the context of controls, how is it defined? Why do you think the FIC (Financial Intelligence Centre) has been put up there? What do they encourage through that Act? It is money accounted for that is why it’s a requirement, to strengthen the banking sector so that all the money collected should pass through the banking sector and should be accounted for to know where originally it came from so that there is no terrosim financing where people just come and dump money, which you don’t know where it is coming from to do certain illegal activities. That is what it means. From the procurement regulations, even if you were going to the open market, you are supposed to advertise for the project you are going to put on for. So, even the way that money was given, it also violates the procurement arrangement because then you have basically undermined the procurement process, even if they wanted to use that K300,000 to construct a market,” he said.
“If there was to be an audit much later, that would be an audit query to say, how was this money released before you had even advertised, before your contractors had even told you the cost of the market. So, the whole thing, they undermined the procurement system. At the end of the day, it is us citizens who are at fault who are allowing such misconduct without doing anything. They are procuring drugs, which are expired, which they are going to kill citizens, you still want to say, ‘come 12th August you want to vote for them?’ On what basis are you going to vote for somebody who is supposed to protect your life, but is endangering it?”
And he urged Zambians to get rid of their docility because it was what had made the PF government behave irresponsibly through their ongoing abuse of public resources.
“It’s a pity that the Zambian people are so docile, they are not connected to the affairs governing themselves. As a result, the people in government have become so irresponsible and have so much impunity! This government wants to pass itself off allegedly as a pro-poor government; if it is a pro-poor government, it should be developing policies or explaining why they are failing. For example, inflation was supposed to be in single-digits, but now it is going to double digit, at 21.5 per cent, and is still going up! If you are talking about pro-poor and goods are becoming expensive, what are we supposed to do? The government on the policy side is supposed to put social measures to cushion because people cannot afford to buy goods and services. What we need to see are those practical steps, which explain what their wishes are going to be or how they are going to be achieved. You cannot have a government, which is failing to pay retirees, which is failing to pay doctors their emoluments, especially under this COVID-19,” said Mbangweta.