VICE-PRESIDENT Mutale Nalumango says the recovery of funds alleged to have been obtained from corrupt practices will continue because it is provided for in the Zambian laws.
Speaking in Parliament, Friday, Vice-President Nalumango said Section 80 of the Anti-Corruption Act allows for a person who was found with money or property believed to be proceeds of crime to declare or forfeit it to the state, rather than undergoing a lengthy court process.
She was responding to a question from Zambezi East UPND member of parliament Brian Kambita on how much was expected to be recovered in the near future from alleged corruption cases.
“He asked on the recoveries of money from those that may have plundered, by his statement, the national resources. The recovery will continue because it is provided for in our laws. It will continue, it is found in the Anti-Corruption Commission Act in section 80, which provides for a person who is found with money or property that are proceeds of some crime to quickly declare rather than allow litigation, a lengthy process. To declare truly that they had done something wrong and willing to forfeit what had been acquired back to the state,” she said.
“Then that is entered as far as I remember as admission and what was acquired is therefore forfeited to the state. This is the method that is being used and we urge colleagues in this matter that if you know you acquired something in that manner, it is important in fact that you come forward. Because you know that is not your property or resources. If you are caught and you will want to go to court, definitely this government will not start arresting people without investigation. You will know that the investigations have been done and truly you will have to explain to the Zambian people. This is a provision which allows the state to retain the money and put it back to the public use.”
She said there was no limitation to criminal liability.
“Madam Speaker, where I come from umulandu taubola (a crime committed is never forgotten), there is no limitation to criminal liability. It doesn’t matter when it was done, it will still be followed. We are different, we want to follow the law. This is what the President has said. He has said ‘don’t arrest people before investigations’, and the investigative wings of this country have been given their freedom to investigate,” Vice-President Nalumango said.
“They will not just take cases to court to clean up, they will have to do their due diligence and be sure that there is a matter fit to go before the court. So, for us, we will rely on those wings of government to do their due diligence. The Zambians will definitely ask people to account, they will account at the right time. But we are not going to use social media. We are not going to be swayed by people just talking, we want to do things right. We want any person who is guilty [to be] truly guilty. We don’t want to arrest people just for political expediency but the wings are investigating.”
And responding to a question from leader of the opposition in Parliament, Brian Mundubile on whether government would soon come up with a permanent solution regarding the debt swap, Vice-President Nalumango said the debt swap could not be implemented in the current budget, but negotiations were ongoing.
“The honourable member shows a lot of compassion for the civil servants today, but I must say the indebtedness goes back all the years the honourable members were in government. We have had this question before in this House that we are going to relook at that programme. The programme did not only involve government and the civil servants. In fact, the civil servants were simply a third party in the sense that they were to remit the money. But they caused a lot of indebtedness because of failure to remit. This is how government came in. I will tell you that the actual agreement was between government and the workers,” she said.
“We definitely cannot implement [the debt swap] in the budget that was left behind, the negotiations are continuing, it is a continuous thing year in, year out. There is a collective bargaining. The only issue that I will talk about is the recoveries that we have made of the two months, the recoveries cannot be now because it was not spoken about and therefore this government, a listening government, has already signed with the unions that the recoveries of the two months will be paid back to the members. Until we find a permanent solution. But we are not going to go into this debt swap, which was not even a swap, it was just [a] pay back to the owners. Government was just supposed to pay back what they owed to the workers. It was just for campaigns. Government has signed with unions on how we are going to proceed.”
Meanwhile, Vice-President Nalumango said UPND’s victory in the Lufubu ward in Mwansabombwe was an indication that the party had penetrated Luapula Province.
“Let me congratulate them (PF) for winning Kaumbwe and Lusangazi, but they must also know that we have won in many other areas, we congratulate you. But we have to admit that that was [a seat] PF held, so that is not winning, that is retention honourable members. You have retained your seats. UPND has won in Mwansabombwe and that is what we call penetration. So, the actual winners are UPND, the rest we have retained our seats,” said Vice-President Nalumango.
“Madam Speaker, the going round of the Presidency, I will use the word Presidency, is not anything strange, he is working within the law. I am not aware that Ministers are travelling in public vehicles, they move in their own vehicles and they have a right just like members of parliament here, to go everywhere to campaign. As a government, going to campaign where there is a local government by-election to us is very important. We have a duty that Zambians make the right decision.”