ACC betrays informers

THE Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has been accused of betraying its whistleblower by leaking confidentially recorded statements to unauthorized individuals and institutions.

This follows revelations that some human resources officers at First Quantum Minerals and Operations in North Western Province have allegedly caused the dismissal of some employees after their confidentially recorded statements by the ACC on bribery allegations were leaked to them.

The report along with the protected statement to the ACC were released by the disciplinary committee and sources say that at no time did the whistleblowers decide to disclose their discussions with the commission.

The sources have said the ACC informers, one of whom has since been fired were disappointed by the unprofessional conduct exhibited by the commission that had betrayed the very sources they should have been protecting.

The whistleblowers were equally disappointed that FQMO human resources officers decided to publish their protected statements from the ACC which was never given to them.

The workers have since written to Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) to complain about the unethical, unprofessional and illegal conduct of ACC.

They said that they felt betrayed by the by ACC and feared that their jobs and lives were in danger as a result of their unprotected corruption allegations against their superiors.

They complained that the conduct of the ACC was a breach of the Anti-Corruption Act No 3 of 2012 as well as the Public Disclosure (Protection of Whistleblowers) Act No 4 of 2010 provisions.

One of the employees at FQMO was summoned by the ACC in July where he was assured that he was making a protected disclosure but was shocked that the same information was irregularly leaked to some human resources officers at the mine.

The Daily Nation has been informed that a named employee was summarily dismissed for reporting for work under the influence of alcohol and that when a decision was made to have him reinstated, some officers from the human resources department at FQMO approached him and demanded a bribe to secure his reinstatement.

Two human resources officers were later reported to the ACC by some whistleblowers but surprisingly, the person who reported the corruption act was fired while the other is being victimized by the officers who demanded a bribe for his reinstatement.

Instead of the ACC protecting the FQMO employees who had reported a corrupt activity by some human resources officers at the mine, the commission decided to leak the confidentially recorded statements to the mining officers who later used the statements against the workers in their disciplinary hearing.

So far, a Mr Augustine Tembo who was senior human resources official has been dismissed for reporting a corrupt activity and another employee has his job on the line as he has been betrayed by the ACC.

The protected information was instead disclosed by the ACC and formed part of the disciplinary process after the whistleblower had been assured that their confidentially recorded statements would remain secret.

The information was later published on the FQMO letter head under the Group Security Investigation report by the mine’s security personnel and the Zambia Police.