PF vice-president Given Lubinda has wondered why President Hakainde Hichilema is begging the corrupt to return what they stole, saying he must simply follow the culprits and secure convictions through transparent prosecution.

On Friday, President Hichilema encouraged those who engaged in corruption to voluntarily come forward and pay back to society what they took away.

But in an interview, Lubinda said if the police used the same principle, then it would be the rule of the jungle.

“If the police were to use that principle, then you would have the rule of the jungle. If the police suspect that somebody has stolen, they do not go to the press to say ‘those of you who have stolen come and volunteer and give us back what you stole’. No. What the police do is they investigate and effect an arrest. So even for him, if indeed there are people who are corrupt, why is he begging that ‘please come and volunteer and say you were corrupt’? If indeed there are people who he knows are corrupt, let him follow those people and let him secure convictions through free, fair, transparent prosecution,” said Lubinda.

In his address on the progress made in the application of the national values and principles to the first session of the thirteenth National Assembly, Friday, President Hichilema encouraged the corrupt to voluntarily come forward.

“We are committed to fighting corruption, strengthening the rule of law and ensuring prudence in the utilization of public resources. Corruption takes away the much-needed resources for economic growth, jobs, business opportunities, improving education, health and other social services. Corruption reduces the effectiveness of public administration. We must fight corruption in all its forms and manifestations. It is therefore wrong for the corrupt to deliberately and intentionally label themselves as victims in the fight against corruption so as to gain sympathy from the public,” said President Hichilema.

“Children, women, the youth, and other vulnerable members of our society remain the true victims of corruption. Government has also established the financial and economic crimes court to expedite the disposal of cases. This government will not falter in the fight against corruption. There will be no sacred cow in this fight. We must all declare war against corruption. We encourage those who engaged in corruption to voluntarily come forward and pay back to society what they took away. It is wise to do so than to wait for the inevitable, prosecution and the resultant consequences. We must work hard and be firm against unethical conduct in both our private and public lives.”