Forensic audit

When we first reported serious disquiet at the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) regarding the package of emoluments, officials denied the story and suggested that it was a fabrication.

 It has since transpired that the Commission is parting company with a number of investigators and lawyers who feel   shortchanged by the recently introduced remuneration packages.

This development is most unfortunate.

Equally when we reported that a number of operatives at the institution were unhappy and afraid of investigating large scale corruption cases, because those involved were connected to powerful offices in the land, again we were contradicted.

Again we are being vindicated. There are harrowing stories of massive single sourcing in which foreign companies are partnering with local institutions, to secure contracts that are performed in shoddy manner to save money for kickbacks.

We have even heard of briefcase companies winning massive contracts, which are then subcontracted to competent and well equipped companies.

This information is in the public domain. It is simply a matter of time before that the law will catch up with those responsible. It must be clear to all those concerned that a massive forensic audit of the massive capital projects will be conducted in good time and those culpable will face the wrath of the law.

We are however very concerned by the shedding of positions at the moribund ACC.  This only goes to show that Government has very little regard of this very important institution which has a major role to play in safeguarding the integrity of Government services.

The officers being shed must have accumulated many years of experience which will be lost because Government is not prepared to pay operatives what they deserve and indeed what they were being paid by the previous regime which appreciated the role they had to play in society.

The loss of such institutional intellectual experience is bound to have an effect on the organization. It will take new recruits a lot of time to come to speed and familiarize themselves with issues confronting the country.

Undoubtedly we may be losing some experienced officer who may already have sufficient information regarding some of the most infamous scams including the Trafigura oil contract which has yet to be explained to the people of Zambia.

We totally concur with sentiments expressed by some Members of Parliament  advocating for the independence of the ACC, by bringing it under  the National Assembly control, where the executive will have no overbearing influence. If its not too late the government should reconsider the packages for these officers to take account of the risk and job content that is truly beyond the normal call of duty.It is unfortunate that the budget for 2014 gives no indication of improved wages for this important Commission perhaps as a result of the wage freeze.  However, in spite of this the government must as a matter of urgency recruit new investigators to cover the growing rate of petty crime, where service will not be offered unless payment is made.