Friday, December 12, 2008

Report corruption, justice Chileshe urges Zambians

Report corruption, justice Chileshe urges Zambians
Written by Chibaula Silwamba and Gloria Siwisha
Friday, December 12, 2008 4:23:58 AM

ANTI Corruption Commission (ACC) chairperson justice Valentine Chileshe has challenged Zambians to report anybody involved in corruption, including their relatives to the ACC.

And Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) executive director Goodwell Lungu said the failure by law enforcement agencies to take quick action on corruption cases has compromised the fight against corruption.

In an interview ahead of today's commemoration of the International Anti-Corruption Day, justice Chileshe said all Zambians should be open to report corruption to law enforcement agencies regardless of the individuals involved.

“The problem we have is that you can see someone corrupting another person but you keep quiet just because of the culture or being related or something like that…but if all Zambians are open and they don't want corruption, they could help us by reporting corruption,” justice Chileshe said.

However, justice Chileshe noted that corruption levels in Zambia were reducing and hoped more could be done to eradicate the vice.

“The worldwide report indicates that at least there is reduction in corruption in Zambia. We are doing well and apart from that, we need support from the donor community so that we continue fighting corruption and be mobile,” said justice Chileshe. “We are reducing and we have reduced corruption. That is an indication that we are making headways.”

The ACC and TIZ have organised a programme to commemorate the International Anti-Corruption Day today, which will involve a march past from Northmead's Total Filling Station to Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka.

The fight against corruption has led to several high profile people including former president Frederick Chiluba, former intelligence chief Xavier Chungu among others, being prosecuted on corruption-related charges, and abuse of public resources and authority of office.

Chungu returned to Zambia last week from an over four-year self-imposed exile, avoiding prosecution in a corruption-related offence. Chungu was arrested upon arrival at the Lusaka International Airport.

And Goodwell Lungu said law enforcement agencies should ensure they acted speedily when handling corruption cases as laxity was compromising the progression made in the fight. He said the Auditor General's report had revealed gross misappropriation of funds by foreign missions, which needed quick action.

“The lack of action taken on corruption cases by enforcement agencies to us has been a major challenge because as TIZ we strongly believe that our sensitisation campaigns were intensified and a lot of people are aware about corruption but if action is not taken, then we are going backwards,” Lungu said.

He commended Auditor General Anna Chifungula for carrying out her duties diligently despite the failure by investigative agencies to take quick action on corruption cases.

Lungu urged all stakeholders to use the International Anti-Corruption Day to reflect on past successes and challenges to ensure that the country forged ahead.

“Leaders should also step up to the challenge because they are the ones who appoint, for instance, these people in foreign missions. Their commitment to the fight is important,” said Lungu.

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