The corrupt and clandestine deportation of two South Africans businessmen, in a manner that suggests the highest level of collusion must be condemned in the strongest terms possible.
It is unacceptable that in a country that prides itself as a constitutional democracy that respects the rule of law, public officers can conduct themselves in a manner reminiscent of failed states where governance institutions do not exist.
We understand that Ndola was selected for this particular deportation because security controls are weaker. This shows serious planning and premeditation all in aid of committing a crime against innocent individuals.
There is no doubt that the victims of this crime were under tremendous psychological trauma as they were first arrested at the Zambia Revenue Offices, then bundled into Police Cells before finally being driven to Ndola in the night for deportation.
In our view, there is no way that low level immigration officer would have taken it upon themselves to deport foreign nationals holding valid residence permits, without the authorization of senior immigration or indeed Ministry of Home Affairs political leadership.
This level of impunity is unacceptable.
We are further perturbed by reports that the officers concerned demanded for payment to execute the deportation. A figure of K4000 has been mentioned.
If the Anti Corruption Commission was not cited as being complicit in the Amcor affair we would have called for it to institute immediate investigations. In the circumstances the Secretary to Cabinet has no choice but institute a high level investigation.
It is important that the role of ZRA Board of Governors in this matter is clarified as we are made to understand that a very senior officer who investigated the Amcor affair was dismissed on the recommendation made by ACC to the Board. This sounds irregular as Boards are non executive.
What is required is a comprehensive investigation whose findings should be made public. Corruption should not be countenanced in any form or manner that is why all those responsible must be exposed and brought to book as a lesson to others who may wish to abuse their authority of office.
Such reckless conduct does not only imperil Zambia’s very cordial relations with South Africa but also sullies the very favourable business environment that this country has strived to build over the years.
If this type of conduct is allowed to continue our country will suffer irreparable harm. Public officers should not be allowed to appropriate entrusted power for their own benefit.
It should be realized that corruption is the dishonest and immoral conduct from which individuals benefit. Society should frown and penalize such conduct.