OUTGOING UPND deputy secretary general Patrick Mucheleka says Foreign Affairs Minister Joe Malanji should be probed for acquiring a K30 million helicopter.

On Monday, Malanji said he could not be so stupid to steal money from government and buy something like a helicopter which everyone was going to see.

But in an interview, Mucheleka said it had become fashionable for PF ministers to compete against each other in displaying “ill-gotten” wealth.

“He should be probed except certainly we don’t know who is going to probe him because the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the Drug Enforcement Commission have become extensions of the PF. It has become fashionable how PF ministers are competing against each other in terms of publicly displaying the money that they have stolen, the ill-gotten wealth. They don’t have any sense of shame whatsoever. In 2016 we saw Malanji make it to parliament and then he was Foreign Affairs Minister after (Harry) Kalaba left. In such a short period of time, he has acquired so much wealth like everyone else in PF,” Mucheleka said.

“How can you have a minister who only came into office about three years ago acquire that state of the art helicopter at a very huge cost? Where has he got the money from? Who doesn’t know Malanji? What business has he been doing? We knew him as the MMD task force under Rupiah Banda. This is why Kaunda introduced the leadership code, you can’t be a minister and want to do business with the government at the same time, it doesn’t work. This is the problem we have now. Malanji and his friends are expected to provide oversight on the controlling officers so the same people who are supposed to provide oversight are the ones who have taken over. You don’t even know at what point this will stop.”

He wondered why President Edgar Lungu had not distanced himself from ministers who were donating huge sums of money in his name.

“The biggest thief in PF is President Edgar Lungu himself. Because you have noticed that everyone displaying cash is saying ‘this money was given to me by President Lungu’ and the President has never denied it. Today we have a president who is wealthier than the State itself. How do you expect ACC and Dec to probe Malanji when they have failed to probe any minister? You have also heard the Transport Minister Mutotwe Kafwaya bought three vehicles which he has given to three chief’s wives in his constituency. We are failing to increase salaries of civil servants, we are failing to buy medicines for our hospitals. These people are engaging in money laundering,” said Mucheleka.

“Sooner or later, something will be done about these people, they will be held to account no matter how long it will take. They will not get away with it. Look at the way they have taken away the meal allowances from our children in universities from poor families, look at how they have taken away tuition fees. They have hijacked state power to their own benefit. This is why President Lungu wants to cling on to power to go for an illegal third term because of what they have done.”