President Edgar Lungu says government is committed to making Zambia a corruption free zone on the continent.
President Lungu said his Patriotic Front (PF) administration is committed to combating corruption and is working round the clock to ensure that the scourge is curbed from the country’s political, socio-economic and political landscape.
The Head of State said the fight against corruption must not be politicized and called on all stakeholders to join the crusade to rid the country of the cancer.
President Lungu said this today at the commemoration of the 2018 International Anti-Corruption Day held in Lusaka under the theme “United against Corruption”.
The event was attended by several Cabinet Ministers, Senior Government Officials, Members of the Diplomatic Corp, Parliamentarians, Civil Society organisiations, Institutions from the Public and Private Sectors, as well as the general public led by pupils from various schools.
The President took time to visit various stands of public and private institutions that exhibited and participated in the commemoration of the International Anti-Corruption Day.
He stated that consequences of corruption are that much needed resources needed for public service delivery are diverted from critical areas of socio-economic agenda to pockets of those perpetrating corrupt practices and stealing public resources.
The President said corruption has been recognized the world over as threatening the attainment of sustainable development and that no country can develop if it promotes and condones corruption.
The Head of State said Zambia will continue to collaborate with the international community to fight corruption because it deprives people in rural areas access to basic services.
President Lungu urged Zambians to use the International Anti-Corruption Day as an opportunity to reflect on their involvement and role in helping eliminate corrupt practices in the country.
“Let us reflect at personal level our involvement to fight against corruption, we must assess and know what we can do personally to curb corruption,” said President Lungu.
The President pointed out that government has devised measures and policies such as the Public Finance Management Act to tackle abuse of public resources and warned that people caught committing corruption and abusing public resources will face the full wrath of the law.
President Lungu has since directed the Anti-Corruption Commission to collaborate with other law enforcement agencies and ensure that culprits cited in the Auditor General’s report are quickly brought to book regardless of their political affiliation and status.
He observed that young people must be incorporated in the fight against corruption as they have power to influence social change.
Speaking at the same event, Minister of Justice Given Lubinda praised President Lungu for providing strong and exemplary leadership to Zambia’s anti-corruption crusade.
Mr Lubinda said President Lungu approved a ten percent budgetary increment for Anti-Corruption activities and is the only Zambian President to lead commemorations for the fight against corruption.
Speaking earlier, Chairperson of the Zambian Chapter of the African Parliamentarians Network Against Corruption, Cornelius Mweetwa called on government to be open and accountable in its governance and provision of service delivery to Zambians.
Mr Mweetwa said it is disheartening that public resources are being looted with impunity in government ministries and departments despite the existence of integrity committees.
And Transparency Zambia President, Reuben Lifuka said there is need to take an introspection of the achievements made todate in the fight against corruption which the United Nations recognized 15 years ago on the effects corruption was placing on the world and the need to curb the scourge.
Mr Lifuka said there is need to criminalize the perpetration of corrupt practices as they affect service deliver and sustainable development.
And United Nations Resident Coordinator Janet Rogan who was represented by Chief of Missions of the International Organisation for Migration, Marianne Lane said the UN System in the country stands ready to continue supporting and helping Zambia fight corruption.
Ms Lane said the UN is pleased with the roll out of integrity committees in public institutions and called for their strengthening to build a foundation of trust and network to fight corruption.
ACC Deputy Director Rosemary Kuswayo urged Zambians to treat the International Anti- Corruption Day as an opportunity to raise awareness on the dangers of corruption and the need to curb the vice.