Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Anti-Corruption Commission Clears Sports Minister Kambwili Of Corruption But Recommends Former Deputy Minister For Prosecution

Timothy Moono
By Paul Shalala

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has cleared Sports Minister Chishimba Kambwili, PF Pambashe Member of Parliament Ronald Chitotela and North Western Province Permanent Secretary Amos Malupenga of corruption allegations.

But the cases involving PF Mwansabombwe Member of Parliament Rodgers Mwewa and his spouse, the former Cabinet Office Permanent Secretary Anna Mwitwa Mwewa have been referred to the National Prosecution Authority for possible prosecution.

Meanwhile, the ACC is still analysing evidence in cases where former Tourism Minister Sylvia Masebo is being accused of corruption in the way she cancelled hunting concessions and feting traditional leaders using public funds.

Below is a full press statement read by ACC Public Relations Manager Timothy Moono during the commission's third quarter media briefing this morning at the commission's headquarters in Lusaka.



THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION IN ZAMBIA


  3rd QUARTER MEDIA BRIEFING

8th October 2014

 
  
Members of the Press,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Allow me to once again welcome you all to the 3rd Quarter Media Briefing on the activities of the Commission undertaken in the quarter of the year 2014.
Let me once again echo the Commission’s desire to have a Zambian citizenry engaged in the fight against corruption. As a Commission we believe that curtailing corruption is not just about punishing the corrupt. Indeed prosecution of corrupt individuals is necessary to demonstrate that corruption cannot be tolerated and does not pay. This will continue to be done without fear or favour.

However, a holistic approach to addressing corruption goes further than criminalization and prosecution. It involves preventing the scourge of corruption by building transparent and accountable systems of governance. Additionally, it also involves improving public integrity, strengthening the personal ethics of public and private officials as well as challenging social norms that encourage the practice of corruption.

It is in this light that the Anti-Corruption Commission will continue to effectively combat corruption using various avenues as mandated under the Anti-Corruption Act No. 3 of 2012. 

As we celebrate our Golden Jubilee this month, the Commission wishes to urge all citizens to make a renewed stand against corruption and reflect on ways in which each one can contribute to the fight against corruption.

Ladies and Gentlemen
Allow me now to give you an update on the Commission’s activities for the 3rd quarter of this year.

Corruption Prevention
Members of the Press, Ladies and Gentlemen,
In the 3rd quarter under review, the Commission carried out a number of corruption prevention programmes aimed at evaluating the practices, policies and procedures of public and private institutions, with a view to advancing comprehensive and effective systems for preventing opportunities for corruption.  The activities include the following:

1.           Corruption Vulnerability Assessments (CVAs).
The Commission has continued to conduct Corruption Vulnerability Assessments (CVAs) in various public institutions. In the last quarter, CVAs were initiated and are being conducted in the following institutions: Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA), Ministry of Education,  the Judiciary, Zambia Police Service, Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS), Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ), National Institute of Public Administration (NIPA), National Road Fund Agency (NRFA), Ministry of Mines, Energy and Water Development. The CVAs are a very important exercise as they allow employees in any given institution to identify corruption hotspots and come up with recommendations for sealing identified loopholes in order to prevent corruption.  

2.           Integrity Committees:
The Integrity Initiative is an on-going programme in Zambia. The Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) Forum for the Integrity Committee institutions was held in Lusaka on 7th August 2014 at which Twenty One (21) CEOs attended the Forum. The objective of the CEOs Forum was to review the performance of the Integrity Committee programme by discussing the successes, challenges and coming up with resolutions to enhance the performance of the Integrity Committee programme. 

The Commission is encouraged with the commitment exhibited by the Chief Executive Officers of Public and Private institutions in supporting this Government Integrity Programme. This is a real opportunity to significantly reduce corruption and enhance service delivery.
An evaluation of the performance of Institutions with Integrity Committees in the last quarter indicate that a number of them continued to implement programmes aimed at curbing corruption. These include the following: 

a) The Auditor General’s Office developed a Gift and Benefits Policy and it is awaiting approval from their Management. It is hoped that this will enhance transparency in the handling of gifts.

b) The Zambia Bureau of standards developed the Gift and Benefits Policy, Whistle Blower Policy, Service Charter and Code of Ethics which documents have since been approved by their Management.  The documents are aimed at promoting professionalism, transparency, accountability and fairness in the operations of the institution.

c) The Judiciary developed a Service Charter for the Local Courts entitled “Promoting Transparency in Local Court Operations – A guide to avoid corruption at Local Courts.  It is hoped that this will enhance professionalism and consequently improve the delivery of justice in the local courts.

d) The National Council for Construction designed and produced T-Shirts with Anti-Corruption messages for distribution to their members of staff and clients in order to promote integrity awareness among the members of staff and the stakeholders.

e) The Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) held staff integrity sensitizations meetings in various Districts across the country. Some of the meetings were held at  Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, Lusaka Customs Port and at Chipata.

f)   The National Road Fund Agency, Road Transport and Safety Agency and Road Development Agency attended a training workshop on ‘Corruption Prevention, Ethics and Accountability,’ in Malaysia.

g) The Road Development Agency carried out sensitization meetings jointly with the ACC at their regional offices in order to raise awareness on their Code of Conduct and Whistle Blower Policy.

3.           Workshops
The Commission conducted a training workshop for Integrity Committee Members from the following institutions: Road Development Agency, Ministry of Health and Kalulushi Municipal Council. This is part of the Integrity Program which aims at involving institutions in designing and implementing anti-corruption measures as provided in the National Anti-Corruption Policy. A similar training workshop was also held in Livingstone and Sesheke and the following institutions were trained; Zambia Revenue Authority, Immigration Department and Zambia Police Service. The aim was to increase awareness on integrity issues among members of staff, and also increase collaboration with other partner IC institutions.

In addition, the Commission conducted two Induction Training Workshops for Integrity Committee members, Secretariat and Focal Point Officers in Lusaka and Choma.   The objective of this Induction Training is to equip Integrity Committee Members with skills which will enable them to implement the IC Activities and Programmes in their Institutions.  A total of 62 participants were trained from the following institutions:
-      Ministry of Health;
-      Choma Municipal Council;
-      Mazabuka Municipal Council;
-      Livingstone City Council;
-      Zambia Bureau of Standards;

4.           Other corruption prevention activities conducted during the quarter include the following;
                                     i.        The Commission has commissioned an evaluation of some Integrity Committees in order to assess the effectiveness of the programme. The findings will be used to improve performance where necessary

                                    ii.        The Commission also conducted sensitization of employees and Civic Leaders on the Council Code of Ethics at Kitwe City Council.

The Commission would like to encourage the media to take keen interest in the corruption prevention programmes being implemented by the ACC and other institutions in order to sensitise the public on them.

Community Education
The Commission has stepped up outreach programmes with a view to break down entrenched mind-sets that corruption is a norm and thus acceptable.
The following activities were undertaken during the last quarter:

1.   Rural Sensitizaion
During the last quarter,  the Commission extended its outreach to parts of North-Western Province through a Rural Sensitization exercise where approximately 3, 100 people received the anti- corruption message. Districts covered during this exercise include: Zambezi, Solwezi, Kabompo, Manyinga and Chavuma. The target groups reached during the exercise included traditional leaders and their subjects, teachers, pupils, civic leaders, Police Officers, and Heads of Government Departments.

2.   Networking with Civil Society Organisations
In the last quarter, the Commission through partnership with CSOs reached out to  over 1,567,446 people with the anti- corruption messages countrywide. On the other hand, under Phase IV of the Fund for Anti-Corruption Campaign, a total of 144 project proposals from all provinces were received by the Commission and a  Preliminary Evaluation of the 144 proposals was finalised. A total of  69 CSOs were selected for the final evaluation.   A total of K750,000 has set aside to fund the CSOs for anti-corruption activities to be conducted in this last quarter of the year.

3.   Anti-Corruption Clubs
During the quarter under review, the Commission continued to engage pupils in various schools through the Anti-Corruption Clubs countrywide. The Commission conducted lectures and educational talks in 12 schools in different parts of the country. The Anti-corruption clubs conducted various activities including joint meetings and visitations amongst themselves. The Commission is encouraged with the commitment of these young people to make a strong stand against corruption.

4.   Education Curriculum
In an effort to inculcate values of honesty, integrity, responsibility and ethical conduct among school going children, the Commission commenced the process of drafting supplementary reading materials for the revised Civic Education Curriculum. You may recall that the Government in 2013 through the Anti-Corruption Commission and the Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education facilitated the inclusion of anti-corruption topics in the school curriculum from primary to senior secondary levels. These supplementary reading materials will be used by learners and teachers who are teaching civic education subjects where specific anti-corruption messages have been included.

5.   Letures / Talks
The Commission conducted 27 lectures/talks on corruption with various private and public institutions. Some of these institutions reached out include the Road Development Agency (RDA), Africa Life Assurance in Chipata, Petauke and Lundazi, Ministry of Agriculture and National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA). A total of 1,118 people were reached through this activity.

6.   Shows and Exhibitions
During the period under review, the Commission participated in various shows including the 88th Zambia Agriculture and Commercial Show and traditional ceremonies around the country and over 1000 people were reached during these exercises.

7.   IEC Materials
The Commission also continued with the production and distribution of various Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials. It is estimated that over 20,000 people were reached through distribution of these educational materials.

8.   Engagement with Traditional Leaders
In a bid to reach out to traditional leaders on their role in the fight against corruption the Commission held a workshop for 9 chiefs in Southern Province. The Chiefs were drawn from Choma, Kazungula, Gwembe, Zimba, and Kalomo Districts. The aim of the workshop was to identify traditional practices that foster corruption and find avenues of how to address the challenges. These traditional leaders showed keen interest in continuing to support the fight against corruption.

Investigations and Prosecutions
During the quarter under review, a total of 298 reports of suspected cases of corruption were received. 

Out of these cases the Commission instituted investigations on 56 cases. These are cases that contained elements of corrupt practices and which were pursuable under its mandate. 31 reports did not fall under the jurisdiction of the ACC and they were consequently referred to relevant institutions for administrative action.  211 reports did not have elements of corruption and complainants were advised on other avenues of dealing with their complaints.

In the last quarter, the Commission recorded 8 arrests bringing the total arrest so far recorded to 31 country-wide while 3 convictions and 2 acquittals were also recorded. By close of this quarter, the Commission had instituted investigations in 236 cases while 125 cases had been concluded. 

I also wish to inform the public that 12 cases were referred for to relevant institutions with recommendations administrative action. The Commission wishes to take this opportunity to inform the Chief Executive Officers of various public and private institutions that the Anti-Corruption Act provides that recommendations made to them by the ACC need to be complied with, failure to which an offence would have been committed. The fight against corruption requires that any remedial or preventive measures be taken seriously by relevant authorities.

Allow me to also give you a brief status of some of the cases which some of you inquired on earlier.

1.   Henry Kapoko’s acquittal
Following the acquittal of former Ministry of Health Human Resource Manager Henry Kapoko on 26th September, 2014, the Commission communicated that it was not satisfied with the judgment of the Subordinate Court and will appeal to the High Court. The Commission has since filed the Notice of Appeal.

The Commission would also like to take this opportunity to inform members of the public that even though Mr Kapoko and his accomplices were acquitted recently by one of the courts, he is still appearing for trial before four (4) other different courts. These matters are all related to the alleged theft of over K10million public funds at the Ministry of Health exposed in 2009. The other cases are as follows:

             i.                Before Hon. E.  Zulu, Mr Kapoko is facing twenty (20) Counts of theft involving over K6.8 million and forty nine (49) counts of money laundering and possession of property reasonably suspected to have been stolen or unlawfully obtained. The matter is scheduled for continued trial from 13th to 23rd October, 2014.

            ii.                Before Hon. Aridah Chulu, Mr Kapoko is facing two (2) counts of abuse of authority of office, one (1) count of theft by public servant involving K1.29 million and three (3) counts of money laundering involving (2) real estate properties.  This matter is scheduled for continued trial on 27th October 2014.


           iii.                Before Hon. Lameck Ng’ambi, Mr Kapoko is facing two (2) counts of abuse of authority of office and corrupt practices by public officer and the matter is coming up for a ruling on a case to answer on 3rd November, 2014.

          iv.                Before Hon. Joshua Banda, Mr Kapoko is facing charges of theft by public servant involving K1.9 million. This matter is scheduled for continued trial on 11th and 12th October, 2014.

2.   Alleged bribery of Hon Fackson Shamenda Minister of Labour and Social Security by a Dangote Official
As already indicated in the responses to several press queries, I wish to once again state that after due consideration of the complaint received from the Hon. Minister, the Commission did not institute any investigations into the matter. In arriving at this decision, the Commission took into consideration, among other issues, the circumstances and likelihood of any investigation disclosing facts that would prove that an offence was committed under the Anti- Corruption Act. In doing so, the Commission relied on the provisions of the Anti-Corruption Act No. 3 of 2012.

Further, even though the Commission noted that the report made to the Commission was made outside the stipulated time provided for in the Act for Public Officials to report cases of corruption, the Commission did not and has no intention of prosecuting the Minister. In arriving at this decision, the Commission, once agains, relied on the provisions of the law which provides that the failure to report as required should be within reasonable cause to constitute an offence. The Commission considered all the circumstances regarding the matter and concluded that there was reasonable cause for the Hon. Minister not to make the report within the stipulated 24hrs. As such the Commission will not take further action in this matter.

3.    Alleged Abuse of Authority of Office against Youth and Sports Minister Mr Chishimba Kambwili.
The investigations into allegations of abuse of authority office against the Minister of Youth and Sports Mr. Chishimba Kambwili over congratulatory advertisements placed in the print media regarding his acquisition of his degree from Copper Stone University were concluded. After thorough analysis of the evidence collected, the allegations were not proven and recommendations were made to the Ministry for administrative action against some officials there as there was insufficient evidence for prosecution.

4.   Alleged corruption against former Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Mr Amos Malupenga in the manner he is suspected to have received a bribe from a company that was bidding for the Digital Migration Tender.
I wish to inform you that the investigations into this matter have now been concluded and the allegations were not substantiated. The investigations have since been closed.

5.   Alleged abuse of authority of office against former Minister of Tourism and Arts Hon Sylvia Masebo in the manner she cancelled the hunting concessions awarded by ZAWA.
Investigations into this matter have reached an advanced stage and are nearing conclusion

6.   Alleged abuse of authority of office against former Minister of Tourism and Art Hon Sylvia Masebo in the manner she is alleged to have feted some named traditional leader using public funds during a civil matter in court against her.
The investigations into this matter have been concluded and evidence is currently being analysed.

7.   Alleged Abuse of Authority of Office against former Cabinet Office Permanent Secretary for Administration Anna Mwitwa Mwewa.
The matter has now been referred to the National Prosecutions Authority for possible consent to prosecute.

8.   Alleged abuse of Authority of Office against Hon Chitotela and Hon Mwewa in the manner Constituency Development Funds were utilized in their respective constituencies.

I wish to inform you that after thorough analysis of the evidence collected in the matter regarding alleged corruption against Honourable Ronald Chitotela, the allegations have not been substantiated and the matter has now been closed.

With regard to allegations of corruption involving Honourable Rogers Mwewa, the matters have now  been referred to the National Prosecutions Authority for possible consent to prosecute.

Conclusion
It is the Commission’s desire that the public own the fight against corruption by getting involved and making a strong stand against it and  reporting all suspected corrupt practices directly and in confidence to the Commission. As individuals, we need to influence others to desist from engaging in corrupt practices. Public and private officials should see corruption as an affront on socio-economic growth. It is a cost to everyone and should not be tolerated.

As we celebrate our country’s Golden Independence Jubilee, let us all reflect on the sacrifices made for Zambia to attain independence. The sacrifices were aimed at achieving political freedom and justice in our country that would be free of corruption. A corruption-free Zambia will therefore ensure that the sacrifices are not in vain.

Thank you.

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