ANTI-CORRUPTION Commission (ACC) acting director-general Silumesi Muchula says the commission has not come across anything that touches on former president Edgar Lungu, in all the matters which have so far been investigated.

And Muchula says when government officials are allowed to continue holding office while facing corruption charges, they become obstacles.

Meanwhile, Muchula says the officers who turned against the ACC in court during the Chitalu Chilufya case had been disciplined.

Muchula was speaking when he featured on Hot FM’s Beyond the Headlines programme, Wednesday evening.

Asked if former president Edgar Lungu had been implicated in any of the matters the Commission was currently investigating, Muchula responded in the negative.

“Well, of all the matters that we have so far investigated, we have not come across anything that touches on Edgar Lungu. So really, that is just the way it is,” he said.

Asked how that was possible when the commission called a few of his associates and ministers, Muchula said his statement did not mean all investigations had been concluded.

“An investigation is a process. It is not a one-off thing and the fact that I am saying that we have not come across anything does not mean that we are done with our inquiries. Inquiries are still going on. So, really it’s not to say that this person has been cleared or anything because that would be premature for me to state because investigations are still going on. It’s a process,” he responded.

And Muchula said there were a lot of convictions under late president Levy Mwanawasa because there was political will.

“I will give you an example of the period of the late Dr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, a lot of convictions and a lot of properties were recovered during that period, why? Because there was political will. And when there is political will, you find that the appointing authority will act swiftly if a person is found wanting. But we have had instances where certain regimes where people have been allowed to occupy office even when they are being investigated. Surely if a person is still occupying office even when they are being investigated, that will definitely be an obstacle,” he said.

“So, it calls for a lot. Political will is key. That is how it plays out. There is no magic in investigations, investigators are not magicians, they are human beings, of course they are trained. They have that extra skill but they will not be gods or wizards for them to decipher what the person is hiding behind closed doors. So, it’s information that has to flow. For an investigation to move, there must be information. So, if information is suppressed, there will be no investigation.”

Asked if there was no political will under the PF regime, Muchula said there was nothing.

“I am just giving you examples because if there is no sufficient political will, then the appointing authority will not take action even when people are being investigated. We have had, I have told you that people who were being investigated for corruption were allowed to hold office. What does that mean? Personally, I think there was nothing,” he said.

Muchula said under UPND, there was political will to fight corruption.

“In the eight months that UPND has been in office, we have seen one very important step that they have taken. In fact, immediately the government was ushered into power, their main thrust is the fight against corruption. And what we heard was the political will. The President was categorical, he stated that we are going to give you political will to fight corruption. That aspect is very important in the fight against corruption because it sets the tone. When a government says we have given you this political will to fight corruption, it means everything else will fall into place. So, as far as I am concerned, that is what is key. They have given us political will and as an institution, we are positioning ourselves to effectively respond to that political will so that we achieve our mandate,” he said.

Muchula said the Commission had challenges in terms of equipment used in investigations, but it was now being looked into.

“We have not had any obstacles because I think we have started on a good foot. The policy of zero tolerance against corruption is very loud. It means there shall be no sacred cows. So for now we are going for anybody who has committed an offence. Like every other organisation, we face challenges in carrying out our mandate and well, for instance, the challenge of capacity building but of course, that is being worked on now. Lack of equipment in carrying out our investigations. Of course, that is being looked into now. Those are some of the obstacles that we may have but by and large because of the political will that we have now, I think we are on the right course,” he said.

Meanwhile, when asked what happened to the officers who turned against the ACC in court during the Chitalu Chilufya case, Muchula said disciplinary action was taken.

“The officers that turned against the ACC are no longer in the operations department of ACC. Disciplinary action was taken against these officers. These officers were transferred to different departments which have nothing to do with investigations. Still measures were taken against some officers within the institution. Some officers definitely were gotten rid off,” he said.

Asked how many, he said “we will not go into the numbers, just know that we actually did take action against the officers.”

Further asked if the Commission served search warrants when they were investigating suspected crimes before entering people’s homes, he responded in the affirmative.

“This is a matter of law, you are supposed to issue a search warrant. I must be very categorical here, search warrants are usually obtained using the courts of law. You file in documents at the courts and the warrant is issued, then you go and serve that warrant on a person that you want to search. But there are circumstances where we have evidence or we have received information that there could be proceeds of crime which if we do not act immediately might be moved. Definitely under those circumstances we can search without warrant. As long as we introduce ourselves properly and we explain to the occupants of the premises, we can conduct a search without a warrant,” said Muchula.

Meanwhile, Muchula said the Commission was investigating the matter regarding the alpha commodities which supplied fertiliser to government.