TRANSPARENCY International Zambia (TIZ) president Sampa Kalungu has urged the joint investigative wings to establish what documentation accompanied the 31 vehicles which they have seized, and in whose name they were procured.

A Joint Investigative Team recently seized 31 vehicles which were found abandoned at a private property in Makeni, whose owner is yet to be established.

Commenting on this development, Kalungu said a case of such magnitude must have happened with the full knowledge of government and government officials or wings.

“This is a high-profile case which must be traced to its roots. A case of this magnitude definitely must have happened with the full knowledge of government and government officials or wings. We therefore encourage the investigating team to address themselves to the following questions: in whose name were the motor vehicles procured? Whose authority? What was the source of money used to purchase the said motor vehicles? Who cleared the vehicles at ZRA? What documentation accompanied the motor vehicle as they came into the country? Where were the vehicles delivered and to whom? Who owns the property where the vehicles were parked? Etc. There are many interesting questions that we trust the investigating team must focus on,” he said.

Kalungu said his organisation was watching the progress of the investigation with interest.

“If we are to fight corruption systemically, our interest should not only lie in seizing the motor vehicles but in understanding the chain of improprieties and the weak points in the control, management and accountability system of government and the nation as a whole. Further, we don’t expect the drama of 48 houses to repeat itself where people involved are never found. ZRA has records, the owner of the premises, RTSA and many government institutions have information to this effect. Let’s move swiftly and manage prudently resources reserved for investigations. We remain watching the progress of the investigation with interest,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kalungu said the Whistleblowers’ Act must be enhanced to protect whistleblowers.

“We note the decision to seize the vehicles and express our hope that the investigation will reveal more details about the matter. We however would point to certain salient points in this matter. Firstly, we note that the case came through public tipping the law enforcement agencies. This demonstrates the great power in public participation in the fight against corruption. We need to encourage the public and where possible incentivize the public by reporting any criminal activities. The government on the other hand must not always jump to the defence of government officials before investigations are conducted. The Whistleblowers Act therefore must be enhanced and further enhance the protection of the Whistleblowers,” said Kalungu.