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Alba Iulia
Thursday, July 2, 2020

Dr Chilufya exhibiting arrogance over Global Funds Scandal-CSOs

Headlines Dr Chilufya exhibiting arrogance over Global Funds Scandal-CSOs

Action Aid Country Director Nalucha Ziba being interviewed during the news briefing.
Action Aid Country Director Nalucha Ziba being interviewed during the news briefing.

A group of civil society organizations have labeled Health Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya’s response to revelations of gross theft of medicines at Medical Stores as arrogant and casual.

The CSO’s who held a press briefing on Friday to react to Dr Chilufya’s statement in which he described the Global Funds findings as “old news” said the Health Minister’s arrogance over the issue is worrying.

The CSO leaders have since appealed to President Edgar Lungu to fire Dr Chilufya in order to safeguard the country’s image which they says is being dented by scandals such as the Global Fund’s.

“We take note of the lengthy statement given by the minister of health to the media in response to this matter, but the explanations are not sufficient. It is clear that the Ministry of Health was negligent in its duty to prudently manage resources entrusted to it for the Zambian people,” they said in a joint statement.

“Why must you parade the media and tell them that the president is categorical and clear on the fight against theft when we are receiving scandal after scandal, report after report and nothing is being done?” They questioned.

They added, “If the ministers are not firing their negligent controlling officers, we urge the president to fire those ministers whose ministries are being cited for mischief in order to assert that he indeed will not tolerate theft. It is amazing that before people have even finished reading one disheartening report about public resource mismanagement, another report is out.”

Leaders of the CSO's during the news briefing
Leaders of the CSO’s during the news briefing

Below is the full statement

TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL ZAMBIA, ACTION AID ZAMBIA AND OTHER CSOs CONCERNED ABOUT THE IMAGE DAMAGING REPORT FROM GLOBAL FUND AND COUNSELS GOVERNMENT TO TAKE CHARGE OF THE INVESTIGATIVE REPORT AND ADDRESS THEIR FINDINGS

Transparency International Zambia, Action Aid Zambia and other CSOs in Zambia are deeply saddened by the image damaging Global fund’s investigation report which unearthed theft of drugs and other medical products as well as misdirection of over $ 1.06 million meant to better the health system of Zambia.

The CSOs are particularly disappointed that the country seems to be going backwards and not forward when it comes to issues of transparency and accountability in the public sector.

It is very evident from the report findings that the Ministry of Health did not do due diligence in terms of safe guarding the medical supplies donated to the Zambian government.

As organisations that attach great importance to accountability in public resource management, especially those meant for the social sectors, we are more concerned because this particular issue is bordering on the health of citizens of this country.

We feel concerned that at the point when donor support is dwindling, our public institutions are demonstrating such levels of irresponsibility. We are alive to the fact that such a report is not only damaging to the country’s image, but also confirms that there no serious mechanisms put in place by the current government to fight the pilfering of public resources by civil servants.

We take note of the lengthy statement given by the minister of health to the media in response to this matter, but the explanations are not sufficient. It is clear that the Ministry of Health was negligent in its duty to prudently manage resources entrusted to it for the Zambian people.

Why must you parade the media and tell them that the president is categorical and clear on the fight against theft when we are receiving scandal after scandal, report after report and nothing is being done? If the ministers are not firing their negligent controlling officers, we urge the president to fire those ministers whose ministries are being cited for mischief in order to assert that he indeed will not tolerate theft. It is amazing that before people have even finished reading one disheartening report about public resource mismanagement, another report is out. It is barely a couple of days ago when we received the Auditor General’s report on Local Authorities which revealed that over 14 million kwacha of Constituency Development Funds (CDF) was misapplied. Before that there was yet another Auditor General’s report on Parastatals which was equally damning. Before that we had the main 2016 Auditor General’s report with yet another gloomy picture for the Zambians. Amidst all that we have the Mukula tree scandal, $42million fire trucks, $ 288,000 ambulance purchase scandal, the $1.2 billion dual courage way. What is going on in this country?

Where is the so called “working government”? Because as CSOs we are not seeing any work being done where safeguarding public resources is concerned, other than the rhetorical speeches we are subjected to. We should mention here that the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is responsible for safeguarding the assets, investments, reputation and sustainability of the Global Fund by ensuring that it takes the right action to end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Through audits, investigations and advisory work, it promotes good practice, reduces risk and reports fully and transparently on abuse.

It is our concerted view that government should have taken a keen interest in the 2017 Audit findings and acted on them immediately. It is not enough for the government to issue a statement seeking redress by shifting the blame on the supply chain.

The misuse of global funds as outlined in the 2018 investigations report by the Global Fund where HIV test kits were stolen is worth a staggering US$416,379. This is a clear lack of concern among the duty bearers that have been tasked with the responsibility of safeguarding the resources meant for Zambian citizens.

This weakness in internal controls in the delivery process of medical supplies is worrying and has for a number of years had a negative impact on service delivery in the health sector especially to the rural parts of the country.

It is only true that discussion around systems and procedures to safeguard the interests of the nation are not new. The civil society organisations have been calling for government to tighten regulations around the management of national resources and this is not different.

We as CSOs have on a number of occasions advised government to ensure that there is a regulatory framework that is enforceable and has good sanctioning environment, one which punishes issues of mismanagement and gross negligence around national resource management in whatever form.

Furthermore we are dismayed that this is happening when we have a Minister of Health who is a medical practitioner and has two Permanent Secretaries to provide checks and balances. They are further charged with the responsibility of ensuring that all systems and procedures in the Ministry of Health and other partners such as Medical Stores Limited are functioning well.

This situation begs the question, “if the Ministry of Health can allow over $4miilion worth of expired drugs what other anomalies has the ministry kept from the Zambian people?’.

Mind you this is the same ministry which had another huge scandal of theft of donor funds a couple of years ago. There are a lot of mechanisms that government can put in place in the ministry of health and in particular Medical stores to ensure that our people’s health resources are safe guarded.

Our appeal goes to the President of this country Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu to take responsibility of what is happening in his government and be more responsible and safe guard tax payer’s money. The easiest short term measure for the president is to fire erring ministers and permanent secretaries before we as a country, lose the little faith that our cooperating partners have in us.

We seriously cannot be losing so much money at the expense of a selfish few.

The investigation identified significant unexplained stock losses of Global Fund-financed pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical health products totaling US$1, 064,788 delivered to Medical Stores Limited between 2014 and 2016.

Really such things shouldn’t be happening if we have a listening government.

Our hope is that the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) under global fund will work closely with our investigative wings to bring all culprits to book and we hope to see massive dismissals and weeding of the bad seed from medical stores limited.

We also urge government to address the issues highlighted in the report with the utmost urgency it deserves.

The people of Zambia will not be hoodwinked into paying for costs to the nation that could clearly have been avoided if systems and procedures were in place.

Further, one wonders why the President and the Ministry of Health has been silent on this issue even after the Audit report in 2017 was presented to the Ministry of Health.

This will affect a lot of issues including the implementation of the National Health Insurance Bill. It will bring into question the issue of compliance as there has been misuse tax payers’ money and donor funds by allowing this to happen.

The president during his address to the national assembly is on record urging the nation to uphold the values of morality and ethics but this scandal demonstrates that the government of the day does not walk the talk.

As such we are calling on the Head of State to take action against his Minister and Permanent Secretaries for negligence and he must not hesitate to take punitive measures against any erring other officer.

Wesley Chibamba-TIZ Executive Director Nalucha Ziba-Action Aid Executive Director Patrick Kryticous Nshindano-CSPR Executive Director
Lewis Mwape-ZCSD Executive Director
Isaac Mwaipopo-CTPD Executive Director Laura Miti-ACA Executive Director
Chenai Mukumba-CUTS National Coordinator

Summary of demands from the CSO's following the Global Funds scandal
Summary of demands from the CSO’s following the Global Funds scandal

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42 COMMENTS

  1. No suprisers there ……Chilufya is the one who thinks paying $270k for a $80k ambulance is ok……..after all it is not his money , he is not bothered…

    • This is a clear case of “… he who pays the piper calls the tune”. Someone in the donor community is not happy with Dr. Chilufya’s explanation.

      The Global Fund managers want more skin here. It’s time to get to the bottom of this and ECL needs to correct this even if it means heads rolling.

      When it comes to public funds, there are no sacred cows and that’s one thing ECL’s Administration needs to understand and be proactive about.

      Such things create a stigma that overshadows all the other good things your administration is accomplishing and intends to.

      Don’t take things like that lightly because it’s the little foxes that spoil the brew. Much more, Zambia Is Greater Than Any Single One Of Us ~ B R Mumba, Sr.

      Heads should roll …

    • Mumba Sr
      I agree with you. Public perception is vitally important in order to get smooth running of GRZ operations that need the cooperation of citizens ……
      Ignoring scandals only makes things worse

    • Telling a thief EL to catch another thief in Dr. Chilufye will never happen, When you have someone who is on record to have stolen from a poor widow. The fish starys to rot from the head, So keep on dreaming, nothing good can come from a thief EL and he will not rest until he runs the country dry.

    • Lungu is busy constructing a mansion in Swaziland a clear indication he’ll flee the country.

      Lungu & his cronies have really looted treasury whilst burdened citizens with debt & fake taxes. Even those rearing chickens are being taxed K1 per bird. Duty on Japanese 2nd hand wrecks is ranging from 20,000 to 60,000 for cars older than 5yrs.

      Actually $1m is a small amount, they wouldn’t have done anything about it, just like they did nothing about 42x$42m Wheel-burrows. They only reacted becoz Global Funds complained.

    • What would now be a scandal would be, if PF was ‘scandal-free’ for any short period of time. PF has simply been writing its own rules of governance. They actually throw the spear in the wall then draw the target around it!

  2. Doctor Chilufya …….lekeni ukwiba!!
    Ati its old story sure? And someone thot you could replace ecl…..what an embarassment . No wonder people say most notherners are thieves. You are agross disappointment

    • Please Chilugya is NOT a northerner. He is just a thief on his own. Leave the true bembas out of this Chulufya is not.

  3. Every time I read about how we do things in Africa, one question keeps coming to my mind. Are people created equal? The behavior and conduct of our leaders is shocking. People are forced to literally move out of Zambia in order to experience a normal life. At first I though people were just unfair to us but now all can see what is happening in 54 countries. I give respect to Botswana BTW. If I could I’d remove Kabila, Museveni, one ***** whose name I cannot even pronounce in Burundi.

  4. Stealing of public or indeed private resources is bad and the culprites should be punished accordingly. Now when I see these so called CSOs calling for minister of health and his PSs being fired as a means of warning to would be offereds, this is quite a miss placed call. TIZ, ZCSD, Action Aid, CSPR… and others, how much donor funds have they misappriopareted? It took serious interventions by the donors for TIZ and other organisations to pay their election monitors who participated in 2015 by-elecrions their allowances. So when you talk about accountability and transparency, these organisations should be the last to talk about these issues because they have no intergret in them when it comes to donor funds.” let he who lives in the glass house be the last to throw a stone”. We know…

    • These thieves will never stop stealing because they know either nothing will happen to them or they will receive a light sentence and start enjoying their money again. Look at Richard Sakala, he only served about two years only, but now he is floating in stolen money. Heavy sentences should be mated on thieves of public resources.

  5. Lazy Lungu has not got the backbone to fight corruption ….he is a tool for corruption..this case will not go anyway because its donor money, just last month the selfsame Chilufya was begging donors to supplement MOH expenditure. It will not be swept under the carpet like he did with those $288K Ambulances inflated prices….corruption has become the norm with these thieves, am sure today they were at church pretending as usual without shame.

    • Exactly, Ndanje. The problem in Zambia’s anti-theft/corruption is that it is decided in the court of public opinion. Even if there was theft, it was the operators at Medical Stores and not the minister. Therefore, the security wings must step in, investigate, arrest, complie evidence and forward to the prosecutors, who will seek a conviction in a COURT OF LAW and those responsible will go to jail. This attack by this gang of CSOs (with the usual dictators who never seem to allow others to lead these CSOs since the advent of democracy!!) on the health minister is perdonal and malicious.Totally uncalled fir and untimely.

  6. When theft is the order of the day, they still in the morning, during the day and at night. After exhausting all potential local coffers, they decided to still donor funds meant for the people they have empoverished and who without the global fund would have died a long time ago. This government ala mwatu sebanya abroad but goodness is that time will catch up with you all

  7. These are the fruits of Lungu’s ideology of “Uubomba mwibala .. “.

    For all we know, this could be just the tip of an iceberg.

    • ….so if I decide to steal from my workplace tomorrow, get arrested, should I tell the judge I was following “Lungu’s ideology and expect the judge to believe me?? Use that thing between your ears before posting rubbish.

    • Yes , why not.
      That is actually a very good defense line right there……lungu and pf seem to be condoning and managing corruption

      “.Uubomba mwibala…..”

      And ” time to eat is now ” from kapata..

    • Its disgusting reading some blogger’s post trying so shamelessly hard to defend theft, I mean they are people who have died because of taking these useless expired meds these thieves bought at full price on paper yet in reality they bought them at a give away price..

    • ….yaba!! Why, oh why did we send so many knuckleheads into diadpora??? It’s very sad for the country…

    • Zambian Citizen – who did you send with your money in diaspora? You seem to assume everyone can to diaspora via GRZ? Really laughable …Its no wonder chaps like you believe that an Ambulance can cost $288K

    • Citizen…..amd it’s sad to see those who remained in Zambia are of your low calibre …….very worrying for my homeland to be left with empty tins like yourself who can think nothing of a scania truck costing $1 million…..

    • Listen to yourselves?? You sorry losers abandoned your country coz you can’t cut it without the comfort zone daddy white provides you. Indians and Lebanese are operating industries here we are learning from, what can you sorry twits offer this country-how to clean bottoms??? There is nothing to admire from you losers, the Asians are setting examples already.

    • Zambian Citizen – As I stated you are as thick as porridge to understand how the Global village works…

  8. US$1M is very little money for Global funds to ask for a refund, this is pocket change that any body in government PS and above can pay

    • The policy of accounting for every penny is what has made most of the developed countries what they are – developed.

  9. Normal countries the health minister would have resigned or failure to that be fired on the spot. Now here they are probably patting each other on the back.

    • He says he is going to payback the “small” money as its only a million dollars…this is how reckless these thieves are, they have been spoiled by the Chines with those loans they assume any donor chasing them over one million dollars of their tax dollars is insult.
      Another reason why am glad IMF has not given these thieving morons a loan.

  10. CSOs? You mean Laura Miti? Oh dont waste your time. She was torn apart last week on BBC by Bernadette Deka (I think it was) who advised her to research before opening up… this robot syndrome where people don’t want to think seems to be a product of h.h.

    • Really laughable you mean the Bernadette Deka who is a PF bootlicker and is funded by them…they even proposed her name for some board and was rejected…that dull girl who couldn’t answer any questions on Al Jazeera two years ago…

  11. Edagr lungu is a thief, all these ministers are stealing on his behalf.
    Look at the chineese corruption, look at ZAF palm tree base, 4000 Chinese houses, sure chineese driving GRZ vehicles when these same vehicles are not allowed to carry the people it was intended to save and protect.
    Look at the corruption in Kabwe,
    NRDC,Avic Roads, Lumumba Rd, Airport, Hearses.
    Hmmm

  12. Laura Haasiimbi Miti and your fellow miscreants, so whatever you say is the gosoel truth and no one must challenge you?l or clarify? DrChilufya has clarified that the matter is known, a few people (probably upnd plants) have been arrested, and givernment is actually working with Global Funds. Tell us if that us alie and hiw you know that its a lie.
    By the way I just read simewhere that tge EU has increased uts funding to CSOs in Zambua, you must be lobbying for a share of that juicy loot. Your VXs are broken down perhaps? Or school fees are tough? Well, you can do some meaningful work, like the rest of us.

    • Stop stealing period , then Zambia can have a chance to develop.

      Ehhh badala….is all you do ? Borrow and steal, wait for donations then steal ?

  13. As Bembas we get offended when you Tongas call all of us thieve. It’s not fair. Get whoever’s stealing and send them to jail. Am sure ba GBM have heard and known how low the think of him ba UPND

  14. The biggest thief in Zambia is in the opposition and has hidden the privatisation loot in the paradise papers. But these useless NGO’s looking for donar funding are quiet about it. USA President is doing a good job don’t let your taxes be abused by these NGO’s in Zambia who just talk and abuse your money please continue cutting their budgets

  15. Fwanya thats his money just like PF is enriching Avic and you not complaining. It’s even better with the one in opposition as this is his country unlike foreigners like Avic, Indians with the mines and Lebanese shipping money to their countries creating cash liquidity problems in the country

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