TRANSPARENCY International Zambia (TI-Z) chapter president Sampa Kalungu says the revocation of Honeybee Pharmacy’s licence should be the beginning of a cleansing exercise at the Zambia Medicines Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA) because prosecution is the next step.

In an interview, Kalungu said that the decision to revoke Honeybee’s licence would not have been necessary had ZAMRA followed the rules by not awarding the company with a licence when it found Honeybee with 17 irregularities.

He, therefore, called for prosecution of all the responsible culprits involved to remedy the anomaly.

“Transparency International Zambia (TI-Z) welcomes the decision by the Zambia Medicines Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA) to revoke the pharmaceutical licence that was issued to Honeybee Pharmacy. We nevertheless wish to emphasise that this was a decision that should not have been necessary in the first place. As we heard during ZAMRA’s testimony to the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) a few weeks ago, the Honeybee Pharmacy application for the licence to be awarded in the first place did not meet the requirements, having been identified by ZAMRA themselves as having a total of 17 irregularities,” Kalungu said.

“It is, therefore, regrettable that the licence did get awarded in spite of those irregularities, and the fact that Honeybee Pharmacy then went on to supply defective medical kits to the Ministry of Health is a damning verdict, not just on Honeybee Pharmacy, but also ZAMRA itself.”

Kalungu demanded that every officer involved in the dubious awarding of the licence must be held accountable.

He also called for tougher action to be taken following the revocation.

“TI-Z hopes that the revocation of Honeybee’s licence is the beginning of a cleansing exercise within ZAMRA that will ultimately result in every officer, who was involved in the erroneous and dubious award of the licence being held accountable for their actions. Our view is that the only way we will begin to make progress towards addressing the issue of corruption in these processes is to ensure that those responsible for such a reckless act, which put the lives of millions of Zambians at risk, are made to account for their actions,” said Kalungu.

“This whole saga is about the health and life of people. Further action should be action to punish, reform and deter wrongdoing. Charge or sanctions should be made under various appropriate acts they fall under. Various law enforcement agencies need to do their part in ensuring the protection of the people and the church.”