Probe textbooks scandal, ACC told

THE Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) should conclusively probe the textbooks contract scandal at the Ministry of Education without interference, National Revolution Party (NRP) president Cosmo Mumba has charged.

And Dr. Mumba has called for the immediate suspension of the officers in the procurement of textbooks for schools because their continued stay in office would jeopardise the investigations by ACC.

Commenting on the on-going row between the Ministry of Education and local publishers over the award of contracts to foreign companies to publish textbooks, Dr. Mumba said his party was following the development keenly and that it would not rest until the truth was established.

He implored officers at the ministry to conclusively deal with the issue and give a full report to the public over its findings  as it had attracted a lot of interest among Zambians.

“We are following this matter carefully and we want to get a full report of what really transpired for the ministry to overlook all our local publishers and pick on foreigners in the name of ‘they are companies registered in Zambia’ because this is unacceptable.

‘‘So, if there was corruption involved, we want it to come out in the final report of ACC which should be made public,” Dr. Mumba said.

He said time for ACC to show itself as a credible organisation was now as the alleged corruption scandal at the Ministry of Education had presented an opportunity for the institution to prove its critics wrong.

“We know that a lot of people have questioned the investigations of ACC, most of which have never been concluded because of alleged incompetence but this case has presented an opportunity for the institution to vindicate itself by carrying out thorough investigations.

“Our only appeal is that no one involved in this issue should be shielded either by Government or otherwise because this is a serious national matter which borders on the future of our country.

‘‘The education sector is the backbone of development and so people who want to tamper with it should never be treated kindly because they are a drawback to national development,” Dr Mumba said.

The Ministry of Education has come under fire for allegedly awarding a contract worth over US$5 million to a Ugandan company, which is allegedly assisted by senior officials at the ministry, the Curriculum Development Centre (CDC) and Zambia Education Publishing House (ZEPH).