GOVERNANCE activist Rueben Lifuka has advised the Anti-Corruption Commission to not only focus on historical cases which happened during the PF reign, but to equally be on present happenings while putting in place measures to stop further corruption.
And Lifuka says former Attorney General Musa Mwenye SC, who has been appointed as Chairperson of the ACC Board, is a respected lawyer who has been an advocate for transparency and accountability in public service for a long time.
In a writeup, Lifuka said the President had without a doubt, assembled a good cast for the ACC Board.
“It is gratifying to note that the Head of State – President Hakainde Hichilema has finally appointed commissioners for the Anti-Corruption Commission, subject to ratification by parliament. This is an important step given the crucial anti-corruption drive launched by the UPND government. Strong leadership is an absolute necessity if the ACC is to redeem itself and regain public confidence. State Counsel Musa Mwenye is a respected lawyer and one who has been an advocate for transparency and accountability in public service for a long time. Musa Mwenye, as Law Association of Zambia President, was also instrumental in lobbying for a new constitution, together with the Oasis Forum during the administration of President Levy Mwanawasa,” he stated.
“Mwenye has over the years joined calls by Transparency International Zambia and others for lifestyle audits to be introduced in order to complement the declaration of assets and incomes by public servants and politically exposed persons. Undoubtedly, Musa Mwenye comes with a strong pedigree of standing on the right side of history and defending what is right for society. Having served both as Solicitor General and Attorney General, he understands the challenges of the law enforcement agency like ACC. Similarly, the other Commissioners appointed, are credible and outstanding professionals in their own rights and without a doubt, a good cast has been assembled.”
Lifuka however, said the Commissioners should not be distracted by the political noise of those who may have done wrong and would like to pretend that they were being persecuted.
He urged the ACC to treat all cases on their own merits and not because of one’s political affiliation.
“The ACC Commissioners have their work cut out and as soon as their ratification comes through, they should hit the ground running. They should not be distracted by the political noise of those who may have done wrong and would like to pretend they are being persecuted. Of course, there should be no room for persecution or political witch hunts by the ACC as it is an unnecessary waste of public resources which should be deployed to dealing with veritable cases of corruption. The ACC should treat all cases on their own merits and not because of one’s political affiliation,” he said.
“This means that the focus of the ACC should not only be on historical cases which happened during the PF reign, it should equally be on the present happenings while putting in place measures to stop further corruption from taking place. Musa Mwenye and colleagues should always remember that a compromised anti-corruption commission, simply perpetuates the travesty of justice usually suffered by the poor and vulnerable who are the victims of corruption. Corruption wherever it occurs, should be addressed, regardless of the status of who is involved. The expectations are high and we look forward to a working team and an effective ACC.”
Lifuka said ACC should not be seen or associated with perceived politically motivated investigation and prosecution of corruption cases.
“The real work starts now and the Commissioners have to work with the staff and other stakeholders- both state and non-state actors, in order to define a credible plan of action to make the ACC an effective and impactful anti-corruption agency, which is truly independent and in line with the provisions of Article 6(2) of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). ACC should not be seen or associated with perceived politically motivated investigation and prosecution of corruption cases. ACC should be the bastion of hope that Zambia can ably conquer the challenges presented by the current high levels of corruption,” said Lifuka.
“Musa Mwenye and team should ensure that ACC staff are above reproach, some of the rumours of illicit enrichment among staff, do not help portray the right image of the Commission. The Commissioners should work hard to turn around the operations of the ACC and lobby for additional resources to build a strong human resource base and a sustainable funding pipeline. ACC should extend its presence in as many districts as possible and ACC should be the employer of choice of professionals willing to help rid this country of corruption.”