‘EL not aware of graft allegations by former ministers’

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By JAMES KUNDA, STEVEN ZANDE  and KASONDE KASONDE –
STATE House has said President Edgar Lungu is not aware of the corruption allegations raised against the Government by former Cabinet ministers such as Harry Kalaba, who recently resigned from Foreign Affairs.
Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations Amos Chanda said the Head of State was learning of the allegations via social media platforms such as Facebook which Mr Kalaba took in announcing his resignation this week.
Mr Chanda said Mr Kalaba had not laid the graft claims before the police, neither had the law-enforcement agencies informed State House about any such perceived incidences.
“We have just read on Facebook like anyone else, so let him substantiate by naming the Government officers he saw indulging in corruption,” Mr Chanda said.
Meanwhile, Zambia Republican Party (ZRP) president Wright Musoma has urged Mr Kalaba, who is Bahati Patriotic Front (PF) Member of Parliament, to desist from maligning the President and the Government.
Mr Musoma said the malicious comments Mr Kalaba made after leaving the Government could not help in nation-building.
He alleged that Mr Kalaba did not resign because of the purported corruption in Government but left his ministerial post due to his involvement in covert activities which undermined the ruling party.
“ZRP welcomes the resignation of Mr Kalaba because he has a right to do so but we feel he did not resign because of corruption. He knew he would be fired soon because of his detrimental activities to the party,” Mr Musoma said.
Zambian DNA spokesperson Spuki Mulemwa said the organisation was taken aback by the tendency of erstwhile ministers only finding fault in Government prior to or after existing from the system.
Mr Mulemwa said in an interview that President Lungu was firm against graft and it was worrisome for Mr Kalaba, former Information and Broadcasting Services minister Chishimba Kambwili and the erstwhile National Development Planning minister Lucky Mulusa to insinuate the contrary.
But Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo said the Government was paying special attention to corruption allegations against it and was making efforts to address the claims.
Mr Kampyongo said the Government would not shy away from addressing issues that were pointed out by people concerning its operations.
He said leadership was about dealing with issues that people raised in a bid to improve democracy and not being defensive whenever confronted with challenges.
The minister was speaking yesterday when he featured on Hot FM Radio.
He said issues of misappropriation of funds cited in the Auditor General’s Report was a concern and Government had constituted a team of ministers to look into pieces of legislation on the coming Financial Management Bill to curb the vice.
Mr Kampyongo said it was important to ensure that there was transparency and accountability in the disbursement of funds to strengthen internal controls of the taxpayers’ money.
He also said United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema should concentrate on mobilising his party instead of calling on President Edgar Lungu to step down because of corruption allegations against Government.
Mr Kampyongo said it was hypocritical for Mr Hichilema to say Mr Lungu should step down following the resignation of former Foreign Affairs minister Harry Kalaba because many people had left the UPND citing tribalism, among other issues, which he should be addressing if his party was to be ready to take up leadership.

 

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