Friday, May 11, 2007

Prosecute me if I steal - Levy

Prosecute me if I steal - Levy
By Noel Sichalwe in Livingstone
Friday May 11, 2007 [04:00]

PRESIDENT Levy Mwanawasa yesterday said he should be prosecuted if he steals public funds when he leaves office. Commissioning the Livingstone International Airport extended runway and other works, President Mwanawasa said if he had stolen public money, there should be no reason for him not to be punished after retiring from office.

President Mwanawasa said during his administration, a number of thefts of public resources had been disclosed. He said his opponents were now saying that this had shown how criminal the ruling party was. President Mwanawasa said to the contrary, the theft revelations had actually shown that his government was transparent.

"Yes, during my administration, a number of malpractices and theft of public resources have been disclosed but those who compete against us are saying that is bad. They are saying that just goes to show how criminal we are," President Mwanawasa said. "No, it doesn't. It simply shows that we are transparent.

Things were being stolen in the past, of which we didn't know. We did not know, for example, that in just one case, which was tried by the High Court in London, this country lost about US$46 million. We have made it possible for that transgression to be revealed. When we make that possible, it doesn't mean that we are equally guilty of the transgression. We are demonstrating the fact that we abhor mismanagement of meager resources at our disposal. When anyone of us abuses the facilities at our disposal, he will be punished."

President Mwanawasa said there would be no sacred cow in the fight against corruption. "Now, it was being said that President Mwanawasa, you are facilitating this. You will see, naiwe wine nga wafumapo, ukacimona (You will see when you cease to be President of Zambia, we will do the same things to you)," President Mwanawasa said. "You are welcome, if I have stolen, of course, I do not see any reason why I should not be punished."

President Mwanawasa noted that the path he had taken in the fight against corruption was dangerous both to himself and his family. "But somebody must start the fight. If nobody starts the fight, then we are gone. They are attacking MMD to say MMD is full of thieves. I may agree with them but we have never at any time said we in MMD are clean. If therefore we are found wanting we should be punished just like anybody else."

And President Mwanawasa said following the rehabilitation programmes, Livingstone International Airport would in June this year accommodate a bigger plane carrying US first lady Laura Bush. He urged the Zambia National Tourist Board (ZNTB) to take advantage of the upgraded airport to step up their efforts. Meanwhile, National Airports Corporation (NAC) board chairman Patrick Chamunda said it would now be easier for larger planes to land in Livingstone. The project was funded by the EU at a cost of about 14 million Euros.

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At 4:29 AM , Blogger MrK said...

Does that sound like 'proof it'?

At 2:10 AM , Blogger Chola Mukanga said...

One is not really sure how genuine this fight against corruption and to what extent it fully embedded into the psyche of the whole Party.

Its not obvious to me that a different leader tomorrow of MMD would pursue the corruption fighting agenda, albeit a weaker version at that. I mean how irreversible is what LPM doing? Whilst accepting that is barely at Round 1 of the fight! lol!

This for me is an important question, because unless LPM can show a move towards demonstrating that he understands that corruption is about institutions as well as people, this fight won't last. If we are to effectively defeat corruption we need to realign the incentives within institutions. This is the only way to change the culture of corruption.

At the moment, MMD as a party am sure has such weak governance structures and not enough quality review of membership that it is sitting on corruption time bomb am sure.

If LPM is to have a lasting legacy as the man who fought corruption, he needs to ensure that he leaves institutions both within the MMD party and Government which are robust. Unfortunately, here is the man who has not even delivered a constitution and has no elected party VP.


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