Opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) leader Savior Chishimba this morning petitioned Chief Justice Irene Mambilima to set up a tribunal to probe Agriculture Minister Dora Siliya for her role in the US$34.5 million Zambia-Malawi maize export scandal.
If the petition is successful, this will be the second time Ms. Siliya will be facing a tribunal on allegations of corrupt practices.
A tribunal was appointed on 25th February 2009 following complaints lodged Mr. William Harrington and a consortium of ten (10) Civil Societies against Ms. Siliya that she breached Section 4 (a) of the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act on the award of contract to R.P, Capital of Cayman Island to evaluate the assets of ZAMTEL.
Ms. Siliya is still facing criminal charges in the matter in which she was accused of abusing her authority of office by directing the cancellation of a duly awarded tender of a radar system at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport when she served as Minister of Transport and Communications in President Rupiah Banda’s administration.
In the latest petition, Dr Chishimba says Zambians are currently being subjected to high taxes and other austerity policies that have increased the cost of living in face of a Kwacha whose purchasing power has declined.
Bad leadership and corruption under the PF regime are the many causes of the situation Zambia has drifted into.
Dr Chishimba said the potential of the agriculture sector, which must be the mainstay of the economy has remained untapped owing to corruption.
He said crop marketing is in a mess and that this has resulted in the high cost of mealie meal and other essential commodities.
“The peasant farmers are the most exploited by grain traders that collude with political leaders to hoard the maize for sale on the lucrative international markets,” Dr Chishimba said.
“The future UPP Government, by God’s divine appointment, will scrap off FRA, ZCF and all the cartel associations and create the National Livestock and Crop Marketing Authority (NLCMA) which will be farmer-led.”
He said all exportation of crops and livestock will be done through the NLCMA so that the proceeds from lucrative markets can be shared among farmers.
Dr Chishimba said this measure will increase income levels for farmers as well as boost their capital for investment in agro-processing technologies.