Monday, June 24, 2024

Anti-Corruption Commission Strongly Denies Misappropriation Allegations Regarding Forfeited Funds

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In a press briefing held earlier today, Musa Mwenye SC, the Chairperson of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Board, vehemently refuted allegations of misappropriation concerning K65 million forfeited funds held by the commission. Mwenye addressed the media to clarify the situation surrounding a document circulating on social media, which suggests misconduct within the ACC. The purported interim management letter was also referenced in an article published by the News Diggers Newspaper.

Mwenye began by highlighting that the ACC had not received the document in question and had only become aware of its existence through social media and press reports. While expressing concern about the origin of the letter, he stressed the importance of it being officially availed to the ACC before being leaked. Furthermore, Mwenye urged caution and called for the authenticity of the document to be verified, considering the history of the matter and the surrounding circumstances.

“We have not received the document that is circulating on social media and have only had sight of it from social media and press reports. We are therefore not aware of its authenticity. This having been said, we hope that this letter has not been leaked from the Auditor General’s office without it being availed to us first. The history of this matter and the surrounding circumstances raise great cause for concern,” Mwenye stated.

The Chairperson emphasized that the investigation at the Ministry of Finance had commenced in November 2020, preceding the appointment of the current board. He revealed that following the investigations, the Deputy Auditor Generals and the Auditor General himself were arrested on separate occasions in March 2023. The ACC received a formal request for information from the Auditor General’s office on March 3, 2023, after the aforementioned arrests. Mwenye expressed full confidence in the Auditor General’s office, considering it a vital institution of the government, and stressed that it should not be used to pursue personal legal battles.

“Ladies and gentlemen, you may wish to know that the investigation at the Ministry of Finance started in November 2020, long before this board was appointed. Following investigations, the two Deputy Auditor Generals and the Auditor General were arrested on 1st March 2023, 2nd March 2023, and 9th March 2023, respectively. The Auditor General was interviewed on the 10th of February 2023,” Mwenye clarified.

Mwenye then turned to the document circulating on social media, stating that it contained numerous inaccuracies and appeared deliberately tailored to tarnish the reputation of the ACC. Specifically, he pointed out a false allegation on page 61 of the purported management letter, claiming that K65 million forfeited from Ms. Faith Musonda had been misappropriated. To refute this claim, Mwenye reminded the press of a media briefing held on February 23, 2022, where the ACC handed over a cheque worth K65,333,046 to the Minister of Finance. The funds were transferred from the ACC’s Bank of Zambia account to the Ministry of Finance on March 3, 2022. Therefore, Mwenye categorically stated that the money was not misappropriated within the ACC.

“At page 61 of the purported management letter, there is an allegation that K65 million forfeited from Ms. Faith Musonda was misappropriated. This is a blatant falsehood. All of you members of the press, attended a media briefing on the 23rd February 2022 at which the Anti-Corruption Commission handed over a cheque for K65,333,046 to the honourable Minister of finance. The money moved from the Anti-Corruption Commission account at Bank of Zambia to the Ministry of Finance on 3rd of March 2022. It is therefore not true that this money was misappropriated in the ACC,” Mwenye clarified firmly.

Expressing disappointment, Mwenye criticized the media for publishing unverified documents and failing to seek confirmation from the ACC, Bank of Zambia, or the Ministry of Finance. He reminded the press of their vital role as partners in the fight against corruption and urged them to exercise caution before disseminating alarming statements without factual verification.

“Ladies and gentlemen, please bear with us. We will not address the document that is circulating on social media but suffice to say that it contains a lot of inaccuracies and details that appear tailored to deliberately embarrass the institution… You members of the press are key partners in the fight against corruption and in the future, we would urge you to avoid publishing alarming statements without verifying the same,” Mwenye expressed his disappointment.

Concluding his statement, Mwenye reiterated that the ACC, like any other government institution, is open to accountability and warranted criticism. However, he emphasized that such criticism must be based on facts rather than innuendo. He acknowledged the aggressive nature of corruption and called on everyone not to succumb to the machinations of those seeking to weaken the ACC and its efforts to combat corruption.

“We will not address the document that is circulating on social media but suffice to say that it contains a lot of inaccuracies and details that appear tailored to deliberately embarrass the institution… Ladies and gentlemen, corruption fights back and it does so viciously and we must not give in to the machinations of those who wish to weaken the Anti-Corruption Commission and the fight against corruption,” Mwenye concluded emphatically.

18 COMMENTS

  1. When kaizar speaks about how corrupt and crooked upnd are you call me names. They claimed pf was corrupt but the level of theft we are seeing over short period is astronomical. A government is a reflection of its leadership. Hh is a thief.

  2. Iam with Mwenye here. The media should start taking their job seriously. Reporting should be professional and precise. Zambia’s journalism schools are clearly failing given the rubbish we are being fed for news. When informing the masses one needs to ensure he has done his research well. If ACC have stolen money show us how. Diggers shouldnt just dig dirt. Unearth some diamonds too. DeadNBC should stop praise singing of the tenants of State House. Reporters should stop working with hidden agendas

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    • There are lies, damn lies and this News Diggers story. It’s a downright lie being perpetrated by PF spin doctors.

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  3. The money might not be with ACC but there is a lot yet unknown to this saga. Watch this space.

  4. I don’t know about this money ….. not yet. But I have yet to meet an ACC officer who is poor. And I mean poor.

  5. Imwe bantu this man has produced evidence to back up his defence that ACC handed the K65million over to govt. Where’s your evidence that it is stolen?

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  6. Speculaterz, you are right. That is a valid defence to this allegation.
    Makes me wonder, news diggers failed to interview ACC and rushed to publish this? I understand it is an official letter but they also wrote about the money being handed over. Why couldn’t they conduct a proper investigation from bursaries committee, bank and ACC?

    • The auditor-general was right to ask for accounting documents completed to vouch for the hand over of the funds through the audit query. However, News Diggers failed to get the reply the ACC provided to the query. Secondly, the ACC is saying that the query has not been presented to the ACC for it to respond. The leakage of the audit report is therefore malicious and a punishable offence because it is making public an incomplete report. Audit reports are always made public at an appropriate time.

  7. Let them explain….
    Did the ministry of education get the money? Where did the ministry of education take the money? Which students benefited? How much was given to each student? Please explain.

  8. They’re busy stealing stolen loot…..this tells you that UPND is worse than PF….ladies and Gentlemen welcome to Africa

    • Perish the thought. The ACC doesn’t even have the audit query yet. How do they reply to the query if it has not been formally presented to them?

  9. Thats interesting, blaming PF for a New Diggers story, when everyone knows that Diggers are run by UPND operatives?

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