Socialist Party (SP) Leader Dr. Fred M’membe has called for the cancellation of a contract awarded to Grant Thornton to audit the country’s defence and security wings.
Speaking at a media briefing in Lusaka yesterday, Dr M’membe said the mentioned contract is neither in the best interest of good governance nor the security of the country.
And Dr M’membe has condemned the growing trend, where entities associated with the UPND top leadership seem to always get the favours, adding that the contract award, points to the emerging pattern of President Hakainde Hichilema’s government directing business to companies he has or has had relationships with and foreign companies being given preference over local ones.
“We must be reminded that Mr Hichilema was one of the Directors of Grant Thornton, the firm that was instrumental in the privatization of Zambian state-owned companies. And today, we see Grant Thornton being granted access to audit our Countries security wings.
“In the process, even critical national security concerns are blantantly being ignored. This is very dangerous and totally unacceptable,” Dr M’membe.
The Socialist Party leader said that the decision taken by the current Government is an act of mistrust in the capacity and integrity of the public audit system.
He says there is also a high cost associated with hiring international private audit firms.
Dr M’membe has therefore questioned the UPND Government if the local audit firms were overlooked because of being incompetent or it was the usual style of preferring foreign entities to the locals.
“Whatever the shortcomings of the current audit system are, the decision taken by Mr Hichilema and his UPND government does not help to strengthen the public audit system,” he said.
“The Zambian people would like to know, how much will this audit cost us? Are we saying that the Auditor General’s Office is incompetent? If so, was this contract floated to other local audit firms? Did our local audit firms not qualify? Or are they also incompetent? Or is this again about the UPND government’s insatiable appetite for foreign companies,’’ Dr M’membe stated.
He has since reminded the UPND Government that they are not in government to benefit themselves and their associates but to benefit all Zambians.