In a scathing statement issued yesterday, Dr. Fred M’membe, the President of the Socialist Party, expressed deep concern over the state of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in Zambia. Dr. M’membe questioned the ability of a corrupt and abusive institution to effectively combat corruption, highlighting the recent findings of the Auditor General’s Interim Management Letter as evidence of the ACC’s failures.
Dr. M’membe stated, “Those in the dark are in no position to light the way for others. The Auditor General’s audit on ACC could just be the merest tip of the iceberg. Evidently, this government has no desire to genuinely fight corruption in this country.”
The audit, which examined the financial years ended December 31, 2022, painted a bleak picture of the ACC’s operations. The report revealed a series of potential scams and fraudulent activities taking place within an institution that is entrusted with preventing corruption in both public and private sectors. These findings have raised serious doubts about the ACC’s credibility and integrity, undermining its ability to fulfill its mandate effectively.
Dr. M’membe further added, “This audit has laid bare the shambolic nature of the current ACC management and their little affection and dedication in the task our people have entrusted them with. The ACC in its current state and management is an exercise in humiliation for the country.”
Among the numerous abuses and irregularities exposed in the audit were instances of missing forfeited funds, failure to follow procurement guidelines, improper asset declaration by senior management, questionable conditions of service for high-ranking officials, and irregularities in the management of seized properties. The list goes on, painting a disturbing picture of incompetence and malfeasance within the ACC.
“For instance, how does one explain the Auditor General’s detailed inventory of abuses at ACC such as the failure to implement Board recommendations on establishing an investigation directorate for investigating corrupt cases, wasteful expenditure, and irregular payments of Board allowances?” asked Dr. M’membe.
Dr. M’membe criticized the government led by President Hakainde Hichilema, highlighting the lack of genuine commitment to fighting corruption. He argued that the leadership’s failure to address the rampant corruption within the ACC raises questions about its willingness to tackle corruption in other sectors of governance.
“One does not even need to ask where the President stands in all this mess because we have a President whose working methods are far from persuading the citizens that he means what he says, particularly when it concerns the moneyed and politically favored elite,” Dr. M’membe said. “And it does not require a genius to understand that this government has no desire to genuinely fight corruption in this country.”
The President of the Socialist Party called on stakeholders such as the Church, political parties, and civil society to take note of the ACC’s failings. He emphasized the need for collective action to address the issue, warning that ignoring these matters could lead to the collapse of the fight against corruption in the country.
“Skirting these matters will ultimately collapse the fight against graft in this country owing to Mr. Hichilema’s lack of capacity for sound judgment and action in strengthening the crusade,” Dr. M’membe stated. “A corrupt and abusive ACC cannot reasonably be expected to fight corruption on our behalf. This is nothing but a fraud, a deception, a joke!”