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Monday, 29 June 2009

Corruption Watch (Ministry of Local Government)

"I believe that there were irregularities in the transaction and if it is proved that the price of the hearses was not inflated and that the terms of conditions were adhered to, I will resign as minister on principle"
The Local Government Minister Benny Tetamashimba has reported his predecessor Sylvia Masebo to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the auditor general concerning the purchase of hearses from China. The hearses are alleged to have been purchased at a staggering price of US $29,000 per hearse.

It is often difficult to distinguish calculated corruption from mismanagement. This may well turn out to be the case of the latter, but we must applaud Minister Tetamashimba's approach to this issue, where other Ministers have swept these matters under the carpet (although credit must also go to the Zambian people who are finally waking up and saying "not in my name"). It's obvious that as Minister he has looked into these documents and has concluded the law must take course. Perhaps there's some glimmer of hope that the era of national irresponsibility has started to crumble. So let us all make the collapse definite by seeing that all corrupt perpetrators are also seen to be punished. We need a new judicial process for convicting corrupt criminals, that is swift and definite (I have previously suggested "special corruption courts"). No point of having long prison sentences and good detection, if you cannot actually convict people efficiently and at minimal cost to the tax payer. In fact I would say that a corruption fight without an efficient court system has little deterrent effect on corruption.

Update (30 June 2009) :

Ms Masebo responded yesterday to the allegations, formally implicating Minister Tetamashimba in the hearses deal. It remains to be seen how much of this politics, mismanagement or genuine corruption. The important issue is that the matter is now in the hands of law enforcement officers.


  1. Cho you should have waited for Masebo's explanation before posting your comment. You are right when you say it could be a case of mismanagement which people like the present Minister at the Ministry of Local Governement and Housing calls corruption. This goes to show in general the intellectual calibre of people running the affairs of the country. When Prof Chirwa says the MMD looks foolish to the outside world he is right. I would add that the present government in Zambia is incompetent and corrupt.The people's hope is to use their vote wisely to get rid of this lot at the next general election in 2011.

    Have a nice day!


  2. Melvin / Anonymous,

    I have updated and linked to Ms Masebo's statement via the Times.

    I get your point about the uncertainty of the outcome, but the general point was that allowing the law to take course is the correct thing at this stage. Indeed Ms Masebo herself appears to welcome that.

    Whether she is plunderer or not is for the law to decide. I hope not, because she is one of the the more forward looking MPs. So it may well come down to incompetence or politics. Its one to watch!

  3. Well this proves to show how dull Teta is.There is evidence to show that he was attending the meetings of the said allegations not only that,the said hearse contract was signed long after Masebo left.The payments were also made after she left.I think Teta is not telling us the whole truth why he rushed to the press and ACC when there these facts on the table,very interesting

  4. Did it ever occur to you lot that there is nothing sinister about the procurement of these hearses? I mean think about it for a minute. You are all prejudice because you think the purchase of these hearses was conducted corruptly. Why? Where do you get this idea from? PF? Why can’t you accept that 100 constituencies requested for hearses because with the AIDS/HIV pandemic, deaths are more common than before and they need to find a way take the bodies to the cemetery cost effectively and efficiently? It appears that as evidence unfolds, your assumption will be proved wrong. But I’d really like to know why you think the “Hearses” are a corrupt issue?


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