FORMER finance minister Ng’andu Magande says even if the UPND government spends K50 million in the corruption probe, they will recover trillions.

Commenting on remarks by former lands and natural resources minister Jean Kapata that the UPND government should not emulate the Levy Mwanawasa-led MMD government by spending K50 searching for K10 with regards to unsuccessful corruption cases, Magande said Kapata was not in a position to know how much was recovered by the MMD government.

“If you ask Ms Kapata that you said ‘Mwanawasa government didn’t do anything’ where is the document you are quoting? She was not in Cabinet, the people who have done mathematics don’t just talk anyhow, they talk with facts. So, if you went to Ms Kapata and say ‘you said nothing was recovered, where did you get this information’? How does Ms Kapata talk about this who was not Minster of Finance? The other day I heard her saying that the issue of Forest 27 is non starter because this was done professionally and the documents are at the Commission of Lands. Because she was minister of lands at the time, but now when she moves out of lands which was her portfolio to recovering stolen goods,” Magande said.

“By the way, this comment came before the K65 million was found. Why haven’t you gone to her and say ‘if this government doesn’t spend money to look around for this money, how are they going to find that K65 million’, ask her how? Even if it was just the police who ended up there, they spent money! So, she said you spent K50 then you recover K20, so she is now saying the K50 that was spent is equivalent to recovering K65 million. So, it means that if this government spends K50 million to recover money, multiply that by 65 then you will find that it is trillions of money that they will recover.”

Magande said President Hakainde Hichilema should appoint committees to investigate how certain government officials were able to build mansions.

“So how does Kapata know that nothing was recovered, how does she know? They were not even cooperating with Mwanawasa in case. They didn’t even want to read our documents, that is why when they went into government, they didn’t know what was happening. So how does she know nothing was recovered? But for now, we are interested in the last 10 years of government people building houses everywhere, where have they gotten all this money? President Hichilema must not put a blind eye to that because that is where you will find the money,” he said.

“I hope the President will appoint committees which will do all these things because we have discovered now that the money that was meant for hospitals is in people’s houses. So, all these things need to be investigated. In the past 10 years we have seen people have built mansions, the houses are visible, they are there and we are asking questions where have they gotten the money?”

Meanwhile, Magande said it was shocking that the previous regime was advising the UPND government not to waste time investigating them when they wanted to investigate the privatisation case.

“You think when you are in government, you are responsible for only part of the people, when you get out of government, you still think that you are not responsible for what you did to the people. Government inherits issues, the point is that even what Mwanawasa was looking for, it was not him who started all these issues. You can imagine that even that government of Kapata was talking about privatisation, are they not the same people who are saying that ‘we want to investigate a case from 30 years ago’? You are talking about recovering money which was lost during your time but your own government was talking about recovering money which you claim went missing 30 years ago. What is the difference? Is it only her government which is entitled to look in the past? The other governments should not look in the past?” wondered Magande.