PATRIOTIC Front secretary general Davies Mwila says former ministers who stayed in office after the dissolution of Parliament in 2016 should not worry about asking the court to extend the period of repayment for the illegally earned salaries because some “well-wishers” and friends of the party have cleared the debt, save for those ex-ministers who are now in the opposition. Mr Mwila proudly said NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili and his DP counterpart Harry Kalaba have to pay on their own because the said well-wishers decided not to include them on the list of beneficiaries of the bailout. The PF boss added that the companies behind this “goodwill” are so generous that they have offered those ministers who had already paid a refund.

“I would like to thank the companies and individuals that have made donations towards the settlement of emoluments deal in recognition with the service rendered by the former ministers during the said period. As a party, we remain committed to the tenets of the rule of law. Individuals who are members of the party and companies have paid for all the ministers who were owing money to the government. I want to say that except honorable [Chishimba] Kambwili and honorable [Harry] Kalaba, they have to pay for themselves. But all those who are members of the party, money has been paid for,” Mr Mwila said.

But surprisingly, when challenged to name the companies that have made this generous offer to the ruling party, Mr Mwila said he did not have permission to announce them to the public.

“The well-wishers are our members; there are about three who offered to pay for the former ministers, specifically PF members. They are individuals who own companies. It is confidential as at now. We have just been given the deposit slips and I think anyone who wants to inquire can go to the Ministry of Finance, unless we ask the same individuals if it will be right to mention their names in public. Once we get permission from them, once they authorise us, we will inform the public. They are well-wishers, they are loyal members of the party and they thought it fit that we pay for the former ministers and we can’t say no, and some of us have already paid, we will start asking for a refund,” said Mwila.

We agree with Mr Brebner Changala who says the ruling Patriotic Front thinks Zambians are idiots who can be fooled by money laundering tricks. We also agree with the governance activist when he says it is organised stupidity for the PF to try and make people believe that under such an economic crisis, there can be a benevolent company that can pay millions to the government on behalf of the ruling party without any corresponding benefit.

It is sad that Zambia is now a country where those in power don’t even see the need to hide their dirty dealings anymore. If the PF and it’s leaders had any regard for moral conduct while serving in public office, these are transactions they would never want to let the public be aware of. If the PF was afraid of being labelled corrupt, they would have simply agreed with the said company to pay ex-ministers individually so that the transaction doesn’t attract public attention.

But here is the Secretary General of the party announcing, at his own volition, that there are companies that have settled over K4 million on behalf of former ministers, and he goes further to say that these companies are owned by individuals who are friends of the party. Surely, this is an insult to our intelligence as citizens of this country. It doesn’t require a genius to tell that this money has been paid by companies, which have been getting corrupt tenders from the government.

This is what happens when a country has lost direction, criminals get too comfortable in their dealings and they find it boring to hide from the law. They have nothing to fear because they usurp powers of the elected politicians to loot the treasury and they can even dictate terms for engagement with the ruling party and government. How can the entire ruling party chief executive become a subordinate of a company that is owned by a party member? How can Mr Mwila say, we need to ask for permission to name them? How powerful are those individuals behind those companies for the ruling party SG to report to them?

Kwena this is taking citizens for granted. Mr Mwila and the same benevolent companies know that behind this bailout transactions lie a list of fraudulent activities. They know that behind this gesture lies a corruption syndicate; that is why their names are being kept a secret. If these companies were doing a noble thing, they would have held a press conference to show their faces and announce their intentions. But they know that when they do that, the people will remember their names when they win government tenders. So we wonder whom the PF is fooling. These are incumbent criminals bailing out ex-criminals.

These people in PF have become so aggressive in their path towards enrichment, but a time will come when these transactions will be re-examined. They will search the world for where they can hide their ill-gotten wealth, but there will not be a single bank safe enough. They will bury their stolen money beneath the earth, but the termites will come out to tell us all about it, as they have done before. Like those who failed to hide their proceeds of crime in the past, the thieves in PF will also wind up in prison. Only foolish people don’t learn.