Wednesday, October 09, 2013

'Public not getting results for reporting corruption'
By Christopher Miti in Chipata
Wed 18 Sep. 2013, 14:00 CAT

EASTERN Province minister Malozo Sichone says members of the public are not getting the desired results when they report corruption issues to relevant authorities.

And Sichone says he will make sure justice prevails over the five traffic police officers who were handed over to ACC after he found them with suspected bribe money from motorists along the Chipata-Mfuwe road on Friday.

Meanwhile, Chipata residents have hailed Sichone's newly-adopted system of fighting corruption.

Featuring on Radio Maria's Face the Media programme on Monday, Sichone said one of the most difficult tasks for the government was implementing the policy of fighting corruption.

He said the fight against corruption was difficult because the beneficiaries of corruption were many.

"Now if you plan to fight corruption, the way we have been doing it is that if you entrust your system alone, you will find that you don't get the tangible results… although it has been a difficult task, I think it's a fight worth joining. The other reason why the fight against corruption has been so challenging is that this is an act where one bribes and the other one receiving and the community has not been up to the task to surely report these matters to the relevant authorities," Sichone said.

He said he was aware that the community did not get the desired results when they reported corruption even to the ACC.

"The community does not get the results but instead they are even exposed to the same people they are reporting. This is just as a result of how hefty the (corruption) network has been. Although this fight has been a difficult task, you have seen from the President, he has not spared anybody. Immediately he has hands on, he immediately acts on that. I will give you the examples, within the two years, it's only under the Patriotic Front government that we have heard of a senior police official like it was on the Copperbelt, she was fired for allegedly being linked to corruption and so on," Sichone said.

He said it was only under President Sata that a permanent secretary was fired in Southern Province because of being linked to corruption.
Asked by callers, mostly taxi drivers, what the government would do to the five traffic officers who were allegedly found soliciting bribes, Sichone said they would face justice.

"I am not going to sentence these five traffic officers here but what I will tell you is that as government, we have procedures that we follow. People should be patient. Someone is already saying 'no, it's like they will be left scot-free', but I am saying let's wait and follow the right procedure, and justice will prevail," he said.

Sichone said the ratio of corrupt and good police officers had now moved to 50-50.

"Let me say this, within the police service, we have officers who do their job diligently, officers who perform their work nicely, officers you can admire and officers who inspire young people to join the police. What I have observed now is that the figures are getting to 50-50; the good officers against the bad officers," he said.

Sichone said it was only in Chipata where overloaded taxis were allowed to operate.

"It's only here in Chipata out of all the places where a taxi can carry 12 people, some even go to the extent of putting the people in the boot. These overloaded taxis literally pass through the police checkpoint and go without the vehicle being impounded," Sichone said.
He said after an interaction with taxi drivers, he was told that they overload in order to make extra money that is later paid to the police at checkpoints.

"I have had so much information that I wouldn't want to even bring out because it's for operation purposes. The information we have had is that some of the traffic officers go to the extent of collecting K18,000 in a day," Sichone said.

Several callers commended Sichone on his stance against corruption. One of the callers, who identified himself as Uncle Charles, said the officers who were found wanting should be fired.

Another caller, Martin Mwale, encouraged Sichone to keep remain resolute in fighting corruption.

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