Friday, November 12, 2010

PF will reinstate abuse of office - Sata

PF will reinstate abuse of office - Sata
By George Chellah
Fri 12 Nov. 2010, 04:01 CAT

Michael Sata yesterday said the offence of abuse of office will be reinstated immediately President Rupiah Banda is voted out of power.

And Sata, opposition PF leader, has said the recent incident where community development minister Michael Kaingu and his permanent secretary Sherry Thole angrily differed over the use of funds at the ministry clearly explains the government’s rush in removing the offence of abuse of office. In an interview, Sata said it would be wasted effort for President Banda to even assent to the bill.

“I know that he has no choice but to assent because he initiated this scandalous bill. But let me emphasise that PF in government will reinstate the offence of abuse of office as soon as Rupiah is voted out of power,” Sata said. “We want to make sure that no public officer abuses their offices to make money on the backs of the suffering majority.”

He said the government’s manoeuvres over the abuse of office clause had exposed the hidden intentions of President Banda’s administration.

“It is wrong for Rupiah and his friends to legitimise theft of public resources by removing the law against abuse of office and acquisition of unexplained wealth by public officers who are supposed to defend and protect public property on behalf of the Zambian people,” Sata said.

“What Rupiah is doing is turning public officers into official plunderers. We want Rupiah, George Kunda and Mike Mulongoti to know that they will not get away with what they are doing. The PF in government will reinstate section 37 of the ACC Act in our laws and ensure that no public officer is allowed to enjoy property that they cannot explain.”

He said every property acquired needed to be accounted for by the owner.

“Rupiah and his friends will definitely be held to this standard. Our people are suffering and we cannot be fighting about public officers keeping money that they steal from the people through corruption and other frauds,” he said.

He condemned professionals that were defending the government’s manoeuvres to remove the abuse of office clause.

“We know poverty is biting even people of high integrity like Professor Patrick Mvunga. Prof Mvunga was Solicitor General in UNIP government when they enacted that and even when Frederick Chiluba’s government in 1996 included section 37, Prof Mvunga was very prominent as a lawyer and Zambian citizen but he never protested,” Sata said.

“Throughout these administrations Prof Mvunga never raised a finger to say that section 37 was unconstitutional. Even in his lectures at the University of Zambia (UNZA), we never heard him telling his students that this section was unconstitutional, so what has changed now? Where has Prof Mvunga been all along for him to come and only spot this anomaly today?

“Anyway, we understand that Prof Mvunga and Abyudi Shonga Attorney General are Rupiah’s lawyers, so probably that’s why they can’t differ with their client in public. But whatever people in this government are stealing or have been stealing in the two years Rupiah has been in office they will account for it once he is gone.”

Sata warned people to take a leaf from what was happening to Chiluba’s conspirators.

“They thought that by scheming on Chiluba’s case, then that would be the end but what has happened? A solicitor in the UK has received a chop due to his dealings with Chiluba. This should be a lesson to all of them,” he said.

And Sata said the incident involving Kaingu and Thole where they differed over funds clearly explains the government’s rush in removing the offence of abuse of office.

“You can see already that Kaingu is differing with his permanent secretary over money. This is the reason why Rupiah and his friends are relentless when it comes to removing abuse of office because they know what they are doing as a government,” Sata said.

“We are aware as PF that an audit query amounting to about K1.2 billion has been raised at the ministry of community development. This is the money they have been dishing out countrywide. But let them not be excited because in a few months' time they will all be required to explain to the Zambian people on these issues.”

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