The Anti Corruption Commission of Zambia has said that investigations have been instituted into alleged corruption relating to the Zambia- Malawi maize deal.
In the end of year media briefing today, where a number of issues were addressed, the Commission’s Public Relations Manager Timothy Moono said that the Commission has begun collaboration with the Malawi Anti-Corruption Bureau over the matter.
Last week the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) of Malawi confirmed that it was sending three of its investigators to Zambia to probe the procurement of 100 000 metric tonnes (MT) of maize from Zambia
Kondowe said the bureau had since taken up the matter to investigate and will work in conjunction with the Anti-Corruption Commission of Zambia to analyse documents related to the deal to establish, if there was an element of corruption.
The ‘maizegate scandal is involving K26 billion Malawian Kwacha.
State trader Admarc insists that it is buying the staple grain from Zambia Cooperative Federation (ZCF), a government agency, despite documents show that Admarc may have used a private Zambian company that may be more expensive than if the deal were government-to-government.
Admarc has reportedly paid $34.5 million (about K26 billion Malawian Kwacha) for the maize, which is $13 million (about K9.5 billion Malawian Kwacha) more than the $21.5 million (about K15 billion Malawian Kwacha) it could have paid had it bought the maize from Zambian Government.
But both ZCF Executive Director James Chirwa and Malawi’s Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, George Chaponda, claimed that no payment has been done to the maize that has already been ferried into Malawi because one of the terms on the contract was that ADMARC will only start paying when ZCF deliverers 10,000 tones.
Below is the full Press briefing by ACC
Members of the Press
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is my pleasure to welcome you all to this end of year media briefing that will highlight activities of the Anti-Corruption Commission in the year ending 2016 and also reflect on the entire year regarding the fight against corruption in Zambia.
Let me begin by stating that the year 2016 saw the Commission continue to effectively implement strategies and programmes aimed at squarely tackling the corruption scourge. Though the Commission made steady progress in addressing the scourge, these activities were achieved amidst challenges.
I wish to state that the Commission and indeed the entire nation, was glad to hear the pronouncement made by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, re-affirming his Government’s commitment to zero tolerance of corruption, and that the President will not shield anyone found wanting in the Government’s anti-corruption drive. Such high-level political pronouncements give the anti-corruption fight the required vigor it deserves to combat the scourge.
It is also worth noting that as Zambia joined the rest of the world in commemorating this year’s international Anti-Corruption day on 9th December, 2016, the Republican President His Excellency Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, represented by the country’s Vice President Mrs. Inonge Mutukwa Wina who was then acting President, further reiterated government’s commitment to the fight against corruption and launched a national anti-corruption slogan “A Corruption-Free Zambia Begins with Me”. His Excellency the President emphasized that the national slogan should serve as a rallying call for all anti-corruption strategies in the country and that it should be embraced on a personal level by all well-meaning Zambians.
Another event worth noting in 2016 was the Commission entering into a Memorandum of Understanding with Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) aimed at sharing information in the management of irregularities that my occur in public procurement. This MoU further aims at improving compliance to the Public Procurement Act and enhance transparency and accountability in public procurement.
Ladies and Gentlemen
Allow me now to give you an overview of the Commission’s activities in the year 2016.
With regard corruption sensitization programmes, the Commission conducted various activities that include lecture, workshops, public rallies, and corruption sensitization during the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections. Exhibitions were also conducted including placement of advertisements on radio and television. These activities targetted both the generl public and particular members of the public with the view of empowering them with information on the dangers of corruption, its effects and how they could be part of the fight against this scourge. The Commission through this function reached out to 844,975 people through direct contact as well as to over 2,000,000 listeners and viewers through publicity of its activities on various media channels.
In addition, the Commission also conducted corruption prevention programme with the view of putting in place systems and programs that curtail corruption and reduce the incidences of the vice in targeted organizations. Some of the activities conducted include managerial accountability workshops, corruption vulnerability exercises, systems studies and facilitation of establishment and training of Integrity Committees. Institutions that the Commission worked with under this function include: the National Road Fund Agency (NRFA), the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA), the National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA), the Zambia Police Service, and ZESCO.
In 2016, one (1) Integrity Committee was established at Cabinet Office and the total number of institutions that have existing Integrity Committees has now reached 48.
I wish to also inform you that during the year 2016, the Commission received a total of 1, 349 reports of suspected corruption, showing a decrease of 296 reports from 1,645 received in 2015. Out of the reports received in 2016, a total of 884 were non corruption related. Therefore, advice was subsequently provided to all those that brought these reports that are outside the Commissions mandate on how best to pursue the matters complained against.
Of the 1,349 cases received in 2016, 465 reports contained elements of corruption as compared to 482 in 2015. Out of the 465 reports, 296 were authorized for investigations as compared to 253 in 2015. 163 reports did not have sufficient details of the corruption offence to warrant investigations to be conducted. As such, some cases were referred to relevant institutions for administrative action while others were closed with no further action. The complainants in these matters were also advised accordingly. 6 reports were still under consideration for authorization.
By the close of the year, there were a total of 598 cases under investigation. The Commission recorded 15 arrests country-wide. The total number of prosecution cases before the courts of law by end of year was 97. The Commission secured 20 convictions during the year and also recorded six (6) acquittals.
As indicated to you earlier in the year, the Commission instituted investigations into 10 cases arising from the 2014 Auditor-General’s Report with regard to financial irregularities and suspected corruption.
From these investigations, a total amount of K700,000 has since been recovered by the Commission. The cases being investigated and their status of end of year are as follows:
Investigations into alleged failure to obtain value for money in procurement involving the Ministry of Mines and Energy. This is a matter in which Officials at the Ministry procured four LaserJet printers at K 38, 400, when earlier the same type of printers had been acquired by the same department for K 5, 000 each.
Following the Commission’s investigations in this matter, the responsible officer has since been surcharged by the Institution. The Commission has further submitted this matter for possible prosecution.
Investigations into allegations of corruption involving the Zambian High Commission in Kenya. In this matter, a former High Commissioner to Kenya is alleged to have used public funds for payment for transportation of personal goods amounting to US $ 17, 825 (K109, 900).
Following the investigations, these funds have since been recovered from the official’s emoluments. The Commission has also submitted this matter for possible prosecution.
Investigations involving the abandonment of a site by a contractor who was engaged to construct 20 medium cost houses in Lunga District in Luapula. Investigations in this matter are ongoing.
Investigations involving the procurement of goods worth K248, 709 by the Ministry of Health in Chipata and Livingstone using accountable imprest contrary to Financial Regulations. Investigations are still ongoing in this matter.
Investigations involving the Ministry of Works and Supply in which a contractor who was engaged to construct 20 low cost houses in Sinda District in Eastern province subcontracted 99 percent of the works to another company contrary to approved guidelines. The subcontracted company abandoned the project as they did not receive payment from the main contractor, which had itself received payment from the Ministry. Investigations are ongoing.
Investigations into the irregular drawing of double salaries by over 200 former Ministry of Health workers who were employed into the Ministry of Defence. They continued drawing salaries from their former Ministry, while also getting paid from their new Ministry. Following investigations, recoveries of the funds is being done, and the Commission is contemplating on prosecuting the officer who failed to effect the termination of salary payments from the former Ministry.
Investigations involving the drawing of funds amounting to over K300, 000 by a named official at the Ministry of Education for an activity that did not take place. Through the investigations, the funds have been recovered and the Commission has submitted to have the concerned officer prosecuted for theft of public resources.
Investigations involving financial irregularities at Luampa Secondary School in Western Province. In this matter, a number of payments for goods and services were made by the school, without evidence of receipts. Investigations are on-going in this matter.
Investigations into the abandonment of construction works at Nsenga Earth Dam in Petauke District by a named contractor. In addition to this, there are also investigations into the certification of shoddy works for payments by officials at the Ministry of Agriculture. Investigations are ongoing in this matter.
Investigations into the certification for payment on unexecuted works by a named officer in the Buildings Department at the Ministry of Works and Supply. This is a matter where a contractor was engaged to construct a health centre, staff house, and three pit latrines in Solwezi. The funds were paid following the certification, but the works were not done. Investigations are ongoing and have reached an advanced stage.
Arising from all the investigations conducted during the year, you may wish to note that the value of the property and cash the Commission seized and recovered totals K69,495,627.00.
The total value of seized properties in the last six years (2011 to 2016) stands at K2,375,115 and the value of forfeited/recovered assets for the same period is K67,120,512.00
Allow me to also give you a brief on the status of some of the cases which have been in the public domain and which some of you inquired on during the year:
Investigations into alleged corruption against Former Minister of Information and Broadcasting Hon. Dr. Chishimba Kambwili are on- going. Investigations in this matter have reached an advanced stage.
Investigations into alleged misappropriation of funds at Football Association of Zambia involving the FAZ President Mr. Andrew Kamanga are still on- going and progressing well.
The Commission’s investigations into allegations of Abuse of Authority Office at National Savings and Credit Bank against the Managing Director Mr. Cephas Chabu have been concluded and forwarded to the office of the Director of Public Prosecution for possible consent to prosecute.
Investigations have been instituted into alleged corruption in the relating to the Zambia- Malawi maize deal. The Commission has begun collaboration with the Malawi Anti-Corruption Bureau over the matter.
Members of the Press, ladies and gentlemen.
The successes outlined above could not have been achieved single handedly by the Commission without the valued contribution from various stakeholders such as Government, Cooperating partners, other law enforcement agencies, Civil Society Organizations, the Media, and the general public. I wish to sincerely commend them all for their great contribution.
I wish to assure you that the Commission will intensify efforts even further in 2017 in order to continue discharging its mandate effectively.
The Commission’s focus for 2017 with regard to Investigations and Prosecutions has been placed on asset tracing, asset seizure and recovery of ill-gotten wealth. This strategy will ensure that corrupt individuals are not allowed to enjoy illicit gains and that any assets or money stolen from public resources are confiscated and returned to the national treasury.
We look forward to continued partnerships, support and collaboration with all our stakeholders. Lastly but not the least, allow me to once again wish you and all our partners and stakeholders a happy and corruption free 2017
PUBLIC RELATIONS MANAGER