TRANSPARENCY International Zambia (TI-Z) chapter president Sampa Kalungu says money actualised from the asset recovery project should be channeled towards empowering investigative wings.
Commenting on government’s decision to use the money which the Anti-Corruption Commission recovered from Faith Musonda to pay students’ bursaries, Kalungu said the move was not sustainable because students’ bursaries were recurring costs.
“As Transparency International Zambia, we of course were in the know that the government decided to use the proceeds from the asset recovery specifically of madam Musonda Faith and then they decided that this resource is going to go towards bursaries. As much as we feel that the assets are going to help the people of Zambia, but also we are scared that perhaps the decision to take such monies to the students is maybe not a well thought through idea. We say so because student bursary is a recurring cost, every time the students are going back they will need money. Asset recovery is not a day to day thing that [we] will see happening. If we remember, maybe in the past two years we can’t count more than three cases where we heard [that] the government recovered resources from such apart from maybe ZRA trucks and so on,” he said.
“So we feel that using that money for recurring costs is not sustainable, perhaps that money could have been used in something much more sustainable or something that can even help the cause of these investigations. For instance, one thing that we are sure of today is the lack of capacity, it is the lack of equipment, the lack of skill in the law enforcement agencies. Perhaps that could have been used to provide maybe equipment, provide training facilities for law enforcement agencies, because you know such are not recurring as for instance the student loans. In one way, you will feel that the government did this move in order to appease the students whom they had promised to give some bursaries before. Our concern is that perhaps they could have thought about a better way of using this.”
Kalungu, however, commended government for being transparent in the utilisation of recovered funds.
“But at least they are being transparent in showing us the money which was recovered and where it is going so that we can trace its source and we can trace where it is ending. The goodness is that it is transparent,” he said.
Kalungu said people were expecting to see more recoveries of assets and cases commencing in the courts of law following the several arrests made.
“Also connecting to this is the fact that there has been a lot of noise, a lot of arrests, a lot of incidents where especially those who were in the ruling party have been harassed. That noise has made people expectant and I am sure that members of the public expected to see more recoveries, more cases commencing in court because of so many arrests. We have seen that this has gone quiet and also people are wondering what else is happening, is the activity only in arresting, is the activity only ending at going to search in people’s things?” wondered Kalungu.