Corruption paranoia


THE obsession with the ogre of corruption has become a huge money-making religion in Zambia.

All manner of crusades have been launched and all manner of institutions have been created to fight the scourge of corruption that this country is supposed to be facing. People have made careers and amassed ill-gotten billions of kwacha from the crusade.

Every successive Government has been accused of massive corruption.

Under first Republican President Dr. Kenneth Kaunda the issue of “copper gate” contributed to a large measure to the disillusionment of the Zambian people who changed political guard for the Movement of Multi-Party Democracy (MMD).

“Coppergate” involved under-pricing of copper and cobalt, which were shipped and transported out of the country through dubious means and sold in shady deals that deprived the country from receiving full value for the minerals.

Towards the end of 2001 stories of massive plunder featured prominently, alleging that millions of dollars were embezzled out of Government coffers into offshore accounts where real estate was purchased in exotic destinations.

So impressed were our Western donors that they poured millions of dollars into the crusade in the hope of  proving the proverbial archetype-the stereotype kleptomaniac African leader in former  President Frederick Chiluba, who dared defy their conventional wisdom not to unbundle the huge mining estate that Zambia represented.

More than US$14 million was poured into the fight, however 15 years later there is nothing to show for the fight except for President Chiluba’s clothes. No explanation has been given for the failure to discover the billions that were allegedly stashed in offshore accounts. No massive estates in exotic destinations have been discovered.

President Levy Mwanawasa was among the very first people to discover that the corruption crusade was a fraud and for that he was very seriously vilified and must have gone to meet his creator a very sad man as evidenced by his last will and testament which expressed serious regret.

He was not spared either. There are documents floating on the World Wide Web alleging corruption in the manner one particular mine was sold for a song. There is also the issue of the Zambia National Oil Company

The fraudsters behind the campaign will not deal with these because they want to pass the former President as a saint beyond reproach, in return for the opportunity he accorded them State influence to plunder also.

This Government has an opportunity to set the record straight and show that the fraudsters were actually mere criminals who have amassed wealth through this ill-conceived campaign which has robbed this country of its good name and standing.

Sadly the very investigative and governance institutions that should correct the record are compromised, unable even to amount the simplest of investigations in straight forward matters of pure documented theft.

The Bank of Zambia has records of plundered properties but neither the Police, DEC and least of all the Anti-Corruption Commission will investigate and prosecute the criminals.

They have all developed cold feet and it may require a public spirited citizen to obtain a court order for the full extent of criminality to be revealed to the Zambian people.