President Hakainde Hichilema has described as horrifying the extent of corruption and theft of public funds that took place under the PF administration.
President Hichilema has told the BBC that he has inherited what he described as an empty treasury and that people are still trying to make last-minute movements of funds, which are unauthorised.
He added that the debt situation had not been fully disclosed by the PF government.
President Hichilema said the hole is much bigger than was expected and his administration has a huge task of correcting the situation.
“People are still trying to make last-minute movements of funds, which are unauthorised, which are not theirs,” President Hichilema said.
In the BBC interview, the new president described the treasury as “literally empty”.
He added that the “hole is much bigger than we expected” and the debt situation had not been “fully disclosed” by the former government.
“There’s a lot of damage, unfortunately,” Mr Hichilema said.
He added that his government would show “zero tolerance” towards corruption, and would get to the bottom of what he called the illicit movement of funds very soon.
“I don’t want to pre-empt things but what we are picking [up] is horrifying,” the president said.
“You’ll feel nobody can do a thing like that but it’s being done. People have done it. They are still trying to do things now.”
Mr Hichilema also said there were “a lot of people who are not working, but are on the payroll” of the government.
Mr Hichilema said the government was committed to restoring its credibility among lenders.
The government would enter into talks with China, which he was confident would “understand that we’ve inherited a very difficult situation”, the president said.
“We had known for a long time that there was non-full disclosure. So now that we’re in, we are beginning to see that the debt numbers that were being talked about officially are not really the comprehensive numbers.”
“You have deals that were structured outside the normal channels; we’re talking about debt that was accrued, acquired without parliament approval,” Mr. Hichilema said.
“One of our jobs right now is to dig into, trying to zero in on what the true debt is, both foreign and domestic debt. We are working through it and we’ll get to the bottom of it soon.”