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Friday, 6 November 2009

Good Argument (Lameck Mangani)

“The nation did not get a good deal from the Taskforce. A lot of money was spent on private lawyers. The facts on the expenditure and recoveries speak for themselves,”
Home Affairs Minister Lameck Mangani correctly identifying the fundamental problem with the Task Force. This essentially borrows the argument, I made a while back that the Task Force on Corruption was very much poor value for money :
It is true that there's no price that we can put on rule of law and justice in general. But we have to remember that the Task Force was not designed to achive these things, as that is the task for our entire Justice System. The Task Force was created to investigate and help recover the plunder of President Chiluba's government. Many of us were led to believe that Chiluba stole billions of dollars from Zambian coffers. Not even 1% of that has been recovered. I believe a cost benefit analysis would reveal that it has negative net present value. The quantified cost of running the task force far outweigh the benefits. That is even before we consider the gross inefficiencies (duplication of tasks with other law enforcement agencies). If GRZ wants an economic assessment of the Task Force, we are available to advise on how such an exercise can be done. Cheaper than RP Capital :)
A friend replied privately and assured me that the Task Force was all funded by donors so poor value for money was irrelevant. Apparently, his view was that we can waste donor aid because it was not "our money". I am being harsh, what he was actually trying to tell me was that the appraisal had to be done from the "Zambian perspective" not the "world perspective". I assured him that I was indeed doing the "theoretical appraisal" from the Zambian perspective, but crucially unlike him, I fully believed the Task Force was being bankrolled by GRZ. I had no proof, until George Kunda revealed last week, donors stopped funding it a long time ago. Mr Mangani's assessment adds further weight to the facts. It was Zambian tax payers money that bankrolled the Task Force and appear to have led to more corruption.

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