President Edgar Lungu has said that he will not condone corruption in government at the expense of the Zambian people. President Lungu said that allowing corruption to thrive in the country has a tendency to disturb the economic growth rate of the country.
He said he will not allow any corrupt elements to continue serving the public service because it compromises on service delivery.
“I will therefore not condone corruption in my government. I will not look kindly upon members of my government who takes advantage of their positions to enrich themselves at the expense of the Zambian people,” the president said.
President Lungu said this in Lusaka today during the commemoration of the Anti-Corruption Day under the theme “Corruption: An impediment to sustainable development goals”
President Lungu said corruption distracts the development of key government institutions such as health, education and infrastructure.
The President said that it was saddening to note that misappropriation and misapplication of public funds was on the rise in some public institutions as revealed by the auditor-general’s report.
“It is saddening to note that misappropriation and misapplication of public funds is on the rise in some public institutions, as revealed by the auditor-general’s report, ” the President said before adding that prudent use of public resources was key in our development agenda and that the auditor general’s report must be a distress call to action.
“It is evident that administrative processes and procedures which are meant to address pilferage of financial resources in public institutions are weak. There is urgent need therefore to evaluate and strengthen the systems of public finance management to ensure that opportunities for corruption and abuse of public funds is curtailed,” the president noted.
The President said that he was committed to ensuring that the corruption fight in the country is taken a level where people are free to report anyone for corruption.
President Lungu said the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is also at liberty to investigate anyone on issues of corruption.
He said he is aware that though some sections of society are calling him to be corrupt, he has done his best to ensure that corruption is fought.
“While the back stops with controlling officers who should ensure that public funds are used for intended purposes, I also demand that law enforcement agencies should ensure that erring public officers are dealt with firmly where criminality is evident,” he said.
The President urged Law enforcement agencies to step up their efforts to ensure that public resources are safeguarded and where there are losses, these should be recovered as the people of zambia are demanding for swift and timely interventions.
“I wish to urge integrity committees which have been formed at institutional level under the national integrity programme to be proactive in addressing institutional corruption. I am aware that some of the committees have not performed well. I wish to call on permanent secretaries and chief executive officers in public institutions to ensure these committees are supported to implement anti-corruption programmes in their respective institutions,” he said
Speaking earlier ACC Chairperson Justice Timothy Kabalata said the fight against corruption calls for individual efforts if it is to bear any fruits.
Justice Kabalata has since urged all to own the fight against corruption if they are to enjoy the fruit of the national cake equally.
He said corruption if unchecked is a cancer that depletes the hard earned resources, which need to be channeled to various developmental project.
Meanwhile Transparency International Zambia Chapter President Rueben Lifuka said it is clear that Zambia like the rest of the developing countries, cannot attain the desired sustainable development ,with high levels of corruption.
Mr. Lifuka said this year’s theme , should be a strong reminder to all that corruption is a serious crime which is robbing the nation of the much needed resources.
And UNDP Deputy Country Director Sergio Valdini says the action to correct the ills is not a preserve of government or Anti-Corruption only but for all people.
Mr. Valdini said corruption adversely affected the attainment of SDGs through reduction in access to human rights.