Thursday, March 29, 2012

Opposition MPs support ACC Bill

Opposition MPs support ACC Bill
By Bright Mukwasa and Ernest Chanda
Thu 29 Mar. 2012, 13:00 CAT

OPPOSITION members of parliament on Tuesday overwhelmingly supported the ACC Bill when it came up for second reading in the House.

2012, which seeks to deal with any public officer concerned with any matter of transaction connected to their office who corruptly solicits to receive any gratification in relation to the transaction.

Supporting the bill, Bweengwa UPND member of parliament Highvie Hamududu said the bill had the support of the cross section of society.

"That has been the position of many progressive Zambians who raised concern even when the MMD government removed the abuse of office clause," he said.

"The fight against corruption is not a fight for a political party. The fight against corruption must be a national issue not for a party or regional. The bill before us is very appropriate in the fight against corruption, if we reinforce and implement we will fight corruption."

He said the government must fight corruption inclusively with other stakeholders.

Hamududu, however, accused the PF government officials of abusing their offices in the six months they had been in power by firing some people from the civil service and replacing them with party cadres.

Nkana PF member of parliament Luxon Kazabu said the bill was a campaign promise which the PF government had managed to deliver.

"The repeal and replacement of this Bill is an act of patriotism and responsibility and not an act of vengeance. The proposed anti corruption Bill will be a useful instrument in protecting our resources from those who are bent on abusing our resources," Kazabu said.

"…this will also act as a deterrent. In the past this country has suffered a lot of financial hemorrhage."

Mumbwa MMD member of parliament Dr Brian Chituwo commended the government for improving parts of the Bill.

Dr Chituwo said the law meant to fight corruption must be strengthened, broad-based and must not be selective.

Senanga UPND member of parliament Likando Mufalali said the government's move to take back the Bill to parliament was "good timing".

Luena ADD MP Mulumemui Imenda urged people not to hero-worship others that had acquired their wealth in an ill-manner.

Lunte MP Felix Mutati, also leader of the opposition in the House, said the MMD supported the bill because of some fundamental changes made that would make it more balanced and equitable.

Mutati also said the two-thirds majority required for the removal of the director general of ACC was raising the bar too high and must be considered for revision and simplify the simple majority that parliament needed.

Choma UPND member of parliament Cornelius Mweetwa urged the government to allow investigative agencies to do their work and refrain from making statements from political podiums.

Mweetwa said the move to grant responsibility of removing the ACC director general on parliament and not on the President was progressive.

And justice minister Sebastian Zulu said the bill was a landmark in the fight against corruption.

He urged members of parliament to be whistle blowers in the fight against corruption.

The PF government has taken back the abuse of authority of office clause that was removed by the Rupiah Banda administration from the ACC Act.

According to the Anti Corruption Bill 2012 tabled by Zulu in the House, the bill states that a public officer commits an offence by doing or directing, in abuse of their position, office or authority any arbitrary act prejudicial to the rights or interests of the government.

The Anti Corruption Bill 2012 seeks to deal with any public officer concerned with any matter of transaction connected to their office who corruptly solicits to receive any gratification in relation to the transaction.



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