The Anti-Corruption Commission has said that it has commenced investigation to determine whether the specifications of the fire tenders as contained in the tender document tally with those of the supplied fire trucks.
In a press briefing this afternoon,ACC Public Relations Manager Timothy Moono told the media that the commission has noted calls from members of the public and other stakeholders for the matter to be investigated considering the amount of money involved.
Below is the ACC Full media briefing
ACC PRESS BRIEFING 1 DEC 2017
I wish to welcome to you the Anti-Corruption Commission, and particularly to this Media Briefing that will address some salient matters relating to the fight against corruption in Zambia and the Commission’s efforts in curbing the vice.
Let me begin by stating that the Commission takes very seriously the comments and views of the general public on matters relating to the fight against corruption because it is aware that the public’s and national interests are at the core of its very existence. In its operations, the ACC is guided by the Laws of Zambia, particularly the Anti-Corruption Act No. of 2012 and other related pieces of legislation.
The Commission will thus continue to exercise its autonomy in accordance with its mandate as provided for in the Law.
The Commission wishes to assure the nation that it will continue to discharge its mandate with the utmost professionalism and will continue to pursue all cases of suspected corruption to their logical conclusion.
The fight against corruption is not an easy one, and corruption cases are usually complex and may take time to conclude effectively. This does not mean that the Commission is not doing its job.
In fighting corruption, it is very difficult to live up to each and every person’s expectations, but the Commission always endeavors to live up to the collective expectation of the citizens of this country, as the institution exists to serve them. It is in this light that the Commission always takes an interest in matters that are of concern to the public, as long as they fall within the ambit of the Commission.
These matters are dealt with independently and professionally, until their logical conclusion.
The Auditor General’s Reports
As part of its mandate, the Commission will continue to take keen interest in reports of mismanagement of funds revealed in the Auditor-General’s report, particularly those involving corruption and abuse of authority of office. You may wish to know that since 2010, the Commission began to report and deal separately cases of corruption from the Auditor General’s Office as a way of creating clear reporting and investigations lines on some cases.
Further, in 2012, the Commission signed a memorandum of understanding with the Auditor-General’s office that would enable the Commission to have timely access to information relating to corruption arising from audits undertaken by the Auditor-General’s office.
This meant that the Commission did not have to wait for the Report to be released for investigations to commence.
Over the years, the commission has investigated and prosecuted a number of cases arising from the Auditor-General’s report and huge sums of money have been recovered as result of the Commission’s interventions.
Between 2013 and 2015, the Commission investigated a total of 87 cases of corruption arising from the Auditor-General’s reports.
After investigations were conducted, most of the issues were found to have already been resolved administratively by respective ministries and departments. However, some notable cases during this period include the following:
1. Alleged abuse of Authority of Office against the Managing Director at NATSAVE, Mr Cephas Chabu. The investigations into this matter were concluded and the docket was submitted to the Office of the DPP for consideration of giving consent to prosecute.
2. Alleged abuse of authority of office against Mwansabombwe MP Rodgers Mwewa in the manner he imposed the purchase of a Toyota Hiace Van which was converted into an ambulance, using Constituency Development funds and subsequently influenced the decision of the Tender Committee of the Kawambwa District Council to award the contract for the said minibus to his brother Thomson Mwewa at the cost of K 220, 000.
3. Alleged abuse of authority of office against former Cabinet Office Permanent Secretary-Administration Anna Mwitwa in the manner she abrogated tender procurement procedures in awarding contracts to various firms’ worth over K2.5million. Ms Mwitwa was arrested by the Commission in March 2015 and charged with seven (7) counts of abuse of authority of office. A Nolle was entered by the DPP in the Kitwe Magistrates Court.
4. Alleged abuse of authority of office against former Chisamba Member of Parliament and Deputy Minister of Local Government Mr Moses Muteteka. Mr Muteteka was found guilty on one count of theft by Public Servant and one count of abuse of authority of office in a matter relating to acquisition of hammer mills. The properties involved in this case which include bicycles, solar panels and hammer mills have been forfeited to the state.
5. Alleged abuse of authority of office against some named officials at Gender in Development Division (GIDD) in the manner they obtained money in form of allowances for workshops purported to have taken place when in fact not. There were two similar cases. In the first case the money involved was K65,000 and in the second case it was K198,188.67. Consent to prosecute was not granted and the DPP advised that the money be recovered from the named erring officers through administrative intervention. I wish to inform you that the K65,000 in the first case has been recovered and the process of recovering the K198,188.67 is still in process.
2015 Auditor General’s Report
From the 2015 Auditor-General’s Report, the Commission picked a total of 11 cases for investigations and the status of these are as follows;
1. 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.
2. Investigations into allegations of abuse of office involving a former Zambian Ambassador to Brussels in the manner US$8,000 was obtained meant as school fees for a niece. Investigations revealed that no such person was enrolled at the named college and the money has since been refunded in full. Over K 110, 000 has been recovered and forfeited to the state.
3. Investigations into allegations of abuse of authority of office involving a former Zambian High Commissioner to Kenya. In this matter, a former High Commissioner to Kenya is alleged to have used public funds for payment of transportation of personal goods amounting to US$17,825 (K109,900). Following the investigations, the Commission has referred the matter to the relevant authority for recovery of the money.
4. Investigations into alleged 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 almost complete.
5. Investigations into allegations of abandonment of site after 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 is alleged to have abandoned the project as they did not receive payment from the main contractor, which had itself received payment from the Ministry of Works and Supply. Investigations in this matter are also nearly conclusion.
6. 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 have advanced and are nearing conclusion in this matter.
7. Investigations into alleged irregular drawing of double salaries by over 200 former Ministry of Health workers who were employed into the Ministry of Defence. It is alleged that the named officers continued drawing salaries from their former Ministry, while also getting paid from their new Ministry. Investigations in this matter have been concluded and administrative action has been recommended for recoveries of the monies to be made from the affected officers who include some doctors and nurses.
8. Investigations into alleged 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.
9. Investigations into alleged 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 almost completed in this matter.
10. Investigations into alleged abandonment of construction works at Nsenga Earth Dam in Petauke District by a named contractor. In addition, 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.
11. 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.
2016 Auditor General’s Report
The recent revelations in the 2016 Auditor-General’s Report of financial mismanagement in the public sector is of great concern to the Commission. The increase in misapplication of funds from about K28 million in 2015 to about K162 million Kwacha in 2016 is a serious indication that there is a problem with financial management systems.
The increase in unaccounted for funds from about K190,000 in 2015 to about K380,000 in 2016 is also of serious concern. There must be a deliberate initiative to strengthen financial management systems in the public sector so as to close up opportunities for leakages of public funds.
The Commission is therefore elated with the assurance made by the Secretary to the Treasury Mr Fredson Yamba that there is a processing in offing that will deal with these financial loopholes in the public sector.
I wish to also state that the Commission is already studying the 2016 Auditor-General’s Report and the Commission has picked a total of 20 cases that relate to its mandate.
This follows a collaborative meeting with the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) at which the DEC also selected some cases for investigation. These cases will be pursued to their logical conclusion.
The Commission wishes to warn public officers against abusing their positions to enrich themselves at the expense of the Zambian people. The Commission will not relent in pursuing such individuals and will ensure that they face the full wrath of the law.
The public may also wish to know that while the Auditor-General records all audit queries in their report which they encountered when conducting an audit, a number of these reported cases are often resolved by the time the Report is released.
The Commission has therefore observed that the Report by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) often gives a more accurate picture on the unresolved cases, whether criminal or administrative in nature.
Recently, there has also been a lot of public concern over the procurement of 42 Fire Tenders by government at a cost of 42 million US Dollars. The Commission has noted the calls from members of the public and other stakeholders for the matter to be investigated as the amount spent has been said to be exorbitant.
As earlier stated, I wish to reiterate that the Commission in 2016 investigated this matter in accordance with its mandate to establish whether there was corruption regarding the manner in which the tender was awarded to the successful bidder. The investigations revealed that the tender procedures were followed in awarding of the tender in this issue.
The major concern from members of the public is that the Fire Tenders that were delivered appear not to match with the cost. There are also still allegations that corruption may have played a part in the procurement process. The Commission is alive to these issues.
The Commission has gathered information on the same and after evaluation, an exercise has since commenced to determine whether the specifications of the fire tenders as contained in the tender document tally with the specifications of the supplied fire tenders. Once this process is completed, the next course of action will be taken.
2017 Third Quarter Activities
Allow me to also give you an update on the Commission’s activities during the 3rd quarter of 2017.
The Commission, under its Corruption Prevention mandate, continued to implement strategies and programs aimed at promoting integrity in both public and private institutions.
Activities conducted in this regard included co-ordination of Integrity Committee activities and collaborations with other institutions on anti-corruption best practices, and conducting of workshops on Ethics and Integrity building in various institutions.
The Commission conducted a Chief Executives’ Forum for Chief Executive officers of Integrity Committee institutions aimed at getting them involved in policy matters relating to the IC’s.
The Commission also held a training workshop for the newly formed Integrity Committee at the Ministry of Tourism and Arts. The total number of Integrity Committees stands at 56, and during the third quarter, the Commission also held meetings with other Institutions that want to set up integrity committees.
With respect to public sensitization, the Commission continues to conduct various activities aimed at reaching different audiences with anti-corruption messages. In the 3rd quarter the Commission conducted study circles and lectures with various institutions and communities on corruption and the role of citizens and the ACC in combatting it
The Commission also continued with the distribution of Civic Education anti-corruption supplementary books to all provinces. Reading materials in form of newsletters, brochures and leaflets containing information on corruption were also distributed across the country.
The Commission also continued supporting the activities of Anti-Corruption Clubs in various schools. During the quarter, the Commission reached out to over 3,750 people with Anti-Corruption messages across the country.
With regard to the Enforcement mandate which includes investigations and Prosecutions, the Commission received a total of 250 reports of suspected cases of corruption during the 3rd quarter of 2017. Out of these cases, 163 reports did not contain elements of corruption and advice was subsequently given to the complainants on alternative avenues for pursuing the matters.
87 reports contained elements of corruption and out of these 58 were authorized for investigations and 5 were authorized for Corruption Prevention Exercises (CPEs). 19 reports did not have sufficient details of the corruption offence to warrant investigations and so these were not authorized for further investigations.
Of these, 14 were referred to relevant institutions for administrative action while the rest were closed with no further action. By the end of the 3rd quarter, the Commission had a total of 575 cases under investigation. The Commission recorded 1 Arrest, 1 Acquittal and 5 Convictions country-wide.
Status Of Some High Public Interest Cases
May I now proceed to give you a brief status of some of the cases which are of public interest and have been in public domain.
1. Alleged corruption against Former Minister of Information Hon. Chishimba Kambwili. Investigations have been concluded and the matter has been referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions for guidance.
2. Allegations of Corruption in the awarding of the contract for the construction of the Lusaka-Ndola Dual carriage way. The Commission is conducting an inquiry into this matter.
3. Allegations of mismanagement of funds at the National Youth Development Council (NYDC) involving UPP leader Saviour Chishimba. The investigations have been concluded and the case has been submitted to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for consent to prosecute.
4. Investigations into alleged corruption involving unaccounted for funds at the Solwezi Municipal Council. Investigations into the matter were concluded, and the case was closed as there was no evidence of corruption.
5. Alleged abuse of authority of office against the Chief Executive Officer at the Zambia Law Development Commission. Investigations in this matter have been concluded. The Commission is analyzing the information so far gathered before the next course of action is taken.
6. Alleged corruption in the manner Ministry of Health procured ambulances at a cost of US$288,000 per ambulance. The Commission has instituted investigations into this matter.
7. The Commission is also investigating a number of cases of suspected corruption arising from information from the Financial Intelligence Centre. The cases relate to suspicious transaction that may amount to payment of bribes to individuals and firms. Investigations are on-going in these cases.
8. The Commission has also been investigating cases of suspected fraud and corruption at the Ministry of Lands involving officials of a company contracted by the Ministry to design and develop a Land Management Database. Investigations have been concluded and have revealed glaring tampering and altering of information on the system. The Commission will soon be taking the next course of action.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the fight against corruption is not an easy one, but with concerted efforts by all stakeholders, it can be won. The Commission remains committed to its mandate and will endeavor to do even more in ensuring that cases of corruption are investigated efficiently and effectively and concluded within the shortest possible time. The Commission calls on all members of the public to remain confident in its operations and to report suspected cases of corruption to the Commission.
PUBLIC RELATIONS MANAGER