INVESTIGATIONS into corruption allegations involving the Ministry of Health regarding mismanagement of the COVID-19 donations, have reached an advanced stage, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has disclosed.
And the commission says it has concluded investigations in a corruption allegation case where the Ministry of Health is alleged to have dubiously awarded a $17 million tender to Honeybee pharmaceuticals, and has handed it over to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for further action.
ACC spokesperson Queen Chibwe disclosed this at a press briefing, Wednesday.
She said a docket for the Honeybee case has been surrendered to the DPP.
“Allegations of corruption involving the Ministry of Health regarding alleged irregularities in the awarding of a tender to Honeybee pharmaceuticals. In this particular matter, investigations have been concluded and the docket has been submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions for further action. Number two, allegations of corruption involving the Ministry of Health regarding mismanagement of the COVID-19 donations. The commission is investigating the matter and the investigations have reached an advanced stage,” she said.
“As you may be aware, the Auditor General released a report on the COVID-19 donations which was availed to the Commission. The commission was able to isolate a number of cases for investigations and more distinct cases are expected to emanate from this particular report.”
Chibwe further said investigations into alleged corruption in the recruitment, promotion and transfer of teachers involving the Teaching Service Commission had also reached an advanced stage.
She said the commission was also in the process of producing over 11,000 posters in all seven languages in order to have a wider reach in disseminating information on electoral corruption.
“Number three, alleged corruption in the recruitment, promotion and transfer of teachers involving the Teaching Service Commission. Investigations into this matter have reached an advanced stage and the investigations will soon be concluded. Number three, 51 houses. The plaintiff did not challenge the forfeiture of the 51 Houses to the State. So, the plaintiffs have since discontinued the case and the 51 houses therefore remain the property of the State. And you may also wish to know that the Commission has been managing the said properties and all the money that is being realised from there for rentals are deposited into state accounts,” Chibwe said.
“The commission in preparation for the 2021 elections period has produced 7000 ICT materials in form of posters on election corruption. These will be distributed during the election period as a way of sensitizing voters on the dangers of election corruption. The commission is also in the process of producing over 11,000 posters in all the seven languages in order to have a wider reach in disseminating information on electoral corruption.”
Chibwe said the commission received a total of 135 reports on corruption in the first quarter of the year.
She however, said out of the said number, 58 were non-corruption related.
“With regards to investigations, during the first quarter of the year 2021, the Commission received a total of 135 reports on corruption. Out of these reports received, a total of 58 were non corruption related. Therefore, advice was subsequently provided to all those that lodged these reports on how best we can deal with the matters complained on as they were outside the mandate of the Commission. Of the 135 cases received, 77 reports contained elements of corruption and 55 of them were authorised for investigations while one was recommended for corruption prevention intervention. Some reports did not have sufficient details of corruption offences to warrant the investigations. Out of the remaining cases, some were closed with no further action due to insufficient information while others are still being studied to determine the next course of action,” Chibwe said.
“In addition, the Commission closed and concluded a total of 14 investigation cases. So, the Commission recorded four arrests. With regards to prosecutions, in the first quarter in the year, the Commission under the legal and prosecutions department had a total of 29 active cases in the courts comprising, 28 criminal cases, and one civil case. The commission concluded seven cases in the quarter with three convictions recorded. The commission concluded cases involving 18 former councillors at Livingstone City Council. So, of the 18 accused persons, six were convicted and sentenced to one year imprisonment with hard labour, suspended for six months. The other twelve were acquitted but the State since appealed against the acquittals. Status on some of the high-profile interest cases.”