By Gershom Ndhlovu
Recently I said on a Facebook page something to the effect that the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) had reached its “sell by date” in view of how it had handled allegations of corruption involving UPG, a South African company printing ballot papers for September 20 elections in Zambia.
When I wrote that, it did not take long for the ACC director-general, Lt-Col. Godfrey Kayukwa to allow himself to be dragged in the mud by how poorly he handled the whole affair. Unless the ACC modus operandi has changed, it is not the duty of the whole director-general to interview suspects, witnesses and complainants. These matters are left to the director of operations who assigns units and officers under him to carry out these duties.
Among other duties of the director-general is to authorise investigations into allegations of corruptions that get to him on specified forms if he reasonably believes there is a case for investigations. In the case where there is doubt of corruption having taken place or even about to take place, a preliminary inquiry is carried out with a view to take it to full inquiry or drop it altogether.
It is however very strange for the director-general to go out publicly and state that there is no investigation going on. As I have stated above, the best Lt-Col. Kayukwa could have done was to authorise a preliminary inquiry, all behind the scenes and summoning Post Editor Fred M’membe and PF’s Kabwata candidate Given Lubinda as persons of interest to the matter without the involvement of the press.
The UPG debacle has not added any credibility to the ACC by denying any investigations going on when in fact, there is one. If anything, the ACC’s credibility, already shaky on many fronts such as the removal of one of the Abuse of Office clause in the ACC Act, has been eroded even further by no other than its director-general who is the lynchpin of its very existence.
To restore the ACC’s credibility, Lt-Col. Kayukwa will need to step down on his own otherwise government needs to relieve him of his duties immediately. If none of these options happens, government’s commitment to fighting corruption will be in serious doubt especially that it only recently removed one of the key clauses of the ACC Act referred to above.
Or maybe it is time the ACC was disbanded the same way its sister investigative wing, SITET, went the way of the dodo back in 1991 when some of the things it used to investigate became part of everyday life. Corruption is slowly but surely become the accepted way of life in Zambia.
(Also read here and here)