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Monday, 30 September 2013

Corruption Watch (Southern Province)

The ACC recently arrested former Southern Province Permanent Secretary Edwin Zumbunu for corrupt practices. According to the ACC between 1st May, 2012 and the 31st August, 2012 Edwin Zumbunu in role as Permanent Secretary for Southern Province wilfully failed to comply with applicable procedure relating to procurement when he approved works for the construction of a wall fence at the Southern Province Minister’s official residence. The works were allegedly valued at more than K195,000 (in rebased prices).

Edwin Zumbunu was fired exactly a year ago by President Sata following allegations of corruption. The Zambian Watchdog had revealed the extent of Zumbunu's corrupt activities. Zumbunu had dismissed all the allegations levelled against him.

But later, in a dramatic turn of events, Livingstone District Commissioner, Paul Sensele came out strongly to reaffirm the allegations against Mr Zumbunu at a media briefing while kneeling and holding a Bible in his right hand. Mr Sensele even dared Mr Zumbunu to sue him in his personal capacity if the allegations were false, saying he had enough evidence to prove that the allegations against the former Permanent Secretary were true.

Shortly after the President fired Zumbunu. Not only was the President's decision to fire him now being vindicated - but the ACC's formal arrest gives confidence to all whistleblowers. We need more of this to really sort out the corrupt mess in this country.

More importantly, it is a reminder that an effective government requires properly vetted senior employees. A person is not corrupt overnight. They have a track record. There must be a process by which the public can be consulted before permanent secretaries and government ministers are confirmed in their posts. This way we ensure all the dirt has been revealed. Again this is an area where the current draft constitution appears completely silent! And our MPs very sleepy indeed!

Chola Mukanga | Economist
Copyright © Zambian Economist 2013

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