Wednesday, February 20, 2013

We've found evidence of corruption against former leaders - Scott

We've found evidence of corruption against former leaders - Scott
By Moses Kuwema
Wed 20 Feb. 2013, 14:00 CAT

Vice-President Dr Guy Scott says the government has found prima-facie evidence of corruption against several leaders who served in both the previous regime of former president Rupiah Banda and the current MMD leadership.

Speaking in separate interviews with South Africa Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) TV and on a live-radio programme on Channel Africa yesterday, Vice-President Scott said there was no witch-hunt in the corruption crusade the government had embarked on.

He said the discovery of about R5 million (referring to K2.1 billion which was found hidden at former labour minister Austin Liato's house), and the over 2,000 bicycles that were found in one of the former ministers' backyard was just a tip of the iceberg on the rampant corruption that took place under Banda's regime.

Vice-President Scott said the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) recently gave an opportunity to Banda to clear his name on some of the alleged abuses but he refused to appear before the investigative agency.
He explained that the action by the ACC prompted Banda and his colleagues to hold an emergency press conference on foreign land so that they could gain international sympathy.

"The same MMD lifted the immunity of former president Frederick Chiluba in order to allow him to be prosecuted, and there is a very good precedence already," Vice-President Scott said. "We found a lot of prima-facie evidence of corruption against the MMD regime."

Vice-President Scott said Banda was guaranteed under the rule of law obtaining in Zambia, and that no court would put him behind bars if he were not guilty.
"We are being very tough on corruption and that's why they are not happy. They are squirming under the pressure," Vice-President Scott said.

He questioned the logic by opposition leaders to hold a press conference in South Africa when the same briefing attracted headlines in the Zambian media.
Vice-President Scott said even the public media that was being used as propaganda tool under the previous regime was now operating with more freedom and covering the opposition as well.
He said Zambia was not a one-party state, and the government would not wish for the nation to become one.

"I think it is hysterical what they are doing. I think it is far too overblown, they are losing. They are basically becoming weaker and weaker. We are getting stronger and they say it is because we are using unfair tricks, but we are winning by-elections handsomely," Vice-President Scott said. "There is no unlawful imprisonment in Zambia, no military take over…if you want to excite the world press, you have to come to South Africa!"

Vice-President Scott said countries that had been suspended by the Commonwealth were those affected by rampant abuses by their governments and military coups, which was not the case in Zambia.

On the allegations that President Michael Sata had unleashed ethnicity on Zambia, Vice-President Scott responded: "How can you have ethnicity in a country with a white Vice-President?"

And Vice-President Scott said relations between Zambia and South Africa could be better because of their shared history.
However, Vice-President Scott said the government was trying to enhance the relations through channels like improving media relations between the two countries.

"We are building up our press relations (with South Africa) at the embassy here. I will talk to the President when I get back that we might consider putting more resources into that," he said.

Vice-President Scott said Zambia would like to see more in-depth investment from South Africa in the mining, manufacturing and agricultural sectors, beyond the investment into chain stores and hotels.
He said both countries should project a proper image of themselves as mining giants.

Vice-President Scott said the problem of unemployment was affecting both countries and that they should come up with ways of addressing the problem.

"We read about your problems and recognise them immediately as our own problems," said Dr Scott.

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