Thursday, November 18, 2010

Finance Bank apologises to Sata

Finance Bank apologises to Sata
By George Chellah
Thu 18 Nov. 2010, 04:01 CAT

FINANCE Bank has apologised to Michael Sata for the unauthorised release of confidential customer banking information. And the PF leader, Sata has charged that President Rupiah Banda is running a corrupt regime.

In a letter to Sata’s lawyers WM Kabimba & Co dated November 12, 2010, Finance Bank managing director David King apologised to Sata for the damage and embarrassment caused to him through the unauthorised release of his confidential banking information by former PF secretary general Edward Mumbi.

“Re: ALLEGED ACCESS TO BANK ACCOUNTS. We refer to your letter of the 8th instant whose contents have been noted. The Bank wishes to tender its unreserved apology to your client for any embarrassment or damage that might have been caused as a result of the unauthorised release of confidential customer banking information,” read the letter in part.

“The Bank is in the process of trying to establish whether the source of this breach emanated internally from within the Bank by reference to systems monitoring logs. The Bank is not desirous of litigation, which would only draw further unnecessary publicity over this matter but would like to resolve the matter amicably. We look forward to hearing from you.”

This was after Kabimba gave Finance Bank a seven-day ultimatum to state how Edward Mumbi got the confidential customer banking details of his client. And Sata has charged that it was a pity that President Banda has continued to wallow in self-comfort on the fight against corruption.

“Like all failures, they live in an imaginary world of denial and self-comfort. With all these undesirable manoeuvres they have embarked on to frustrate the fight against corruption, which credible organisation or government can say Zambia under Rupiah is making steady progress in the fight against corruption?” Sata asked.

“They are just fooling themselves by believing that there is something they are doing to fight corruption. Rupiah is running a corrupt regime. In fact, Rupiah’s government is the most corrupt, the worst actually in the history of this country. So let them not cheat themselves there is no stride they have made in the fight against corruption.”

He said President Banda is presiding over a corrupt, nepotistic and tribal government. He said under the MMD government the crusade against corruption has received lukewarm attention and support.

“The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) which was established to fight corruption has been characterised by selective prosecution of suspects which has eroded public confidence in the institution due to lack of independence and autonomy,” Sata said.

“In order to fight corruption and restore public confidence in the ACC, the PF government shall ensure that members of the ACC supervisory board are ratified by the National Assembly. We will reinstate the abuse of office provision in the Anti-Corruption Act and we will ensure that the ACC submits periodic reports to the National Assembly for consideration and direction.

“The PF government will also enhance the capacity of the ACC to prosecute white collar crime by establishing a specialised wing, increase budgetary allocation to the ACC, re-instate the provision under the old Corrupt Practices Act of 1980 that allowed the President to deal with presidential appointees involved in corrupt practices and we will introduce stiff penalties for corruption offences.”

He said the role of the office of the Auditor General in the public sector was very critical because it is responsible for ensuring accountability and transparency in the use of public funds sourced from taxes, donors and international community.

“Under the MMD government the impact of the reports issued by the Auditor General has been felt marginally by the general public due to the failure by the executive to take necessary action to punish and correct wrong doings as the Auditor General is responsible to the President. The office is also not able to adequately audit the whole country in a sustainable manner,” Sata said.

“The intended independence and autonomy of the Auditor General have been compromised due to lack of an enabling Act of Parliament to provide for the said autonomy and independence. This has been compounded by factors such as poor budgetary allocation, inadequate human resources and skills, limited mandate of audit, which deals only with appropriation and financial statements but excludes performance and forensic audits.”

He said the PF government would enact an enabling legislation to make the Auditor General an officer of Parliament.

“We will establish an Audit Service Commission, which shall be responsible for staff matters instead of the Public Service Commission and we will ensure that the Auditor General’s budget is determined by the Audit Service Commission for approval by parliament and be a direct charge on general revenue of the country,” he said.

He said the PF government would extend the Auditor General’s mandate to undertake performance, forensic and value for money audits.

“We will also provide for security of tenure for the Auditor General,” said Sata.

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