Expedite probe into ZNFU saga, says Cozmo

THERE is a high probability that the investigations into the Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) financial scandal will die a natural death because it is now becoming a trend for investigative wings to institute but fail to conclude probes into high profile cases, National Revolution Party (NRP) president Cozmo Mumba has said.

Dr. Mumba told the Daily Nation that there was a tendency among investigative wings to publicise the probing of high profile cases yet, their endings had been kept top-secrets despite such cases being in the public domain for a long time.

He said the Drug Enforcement Commission (ECZ) was not doing Zambians any justice by keeping them guessing as to what had transpired in the alleged high-profile financial misapplication at ZNFU and has demanded for an immediate update on how far the investigations had gone.

He said the case involving ZNFU officials had dented the image of the country because the monies that were misapplied were tax payers’ contributions from the donor countries which needed to be managed prudently.

He said the inertia by DEC to conclude the investigations on the matter was what led to loss of public confidence in certain institutions, adding that it was one of the reasons there was growing corruption activities both in Government and the private sector because offenders ended at being probed but not prosecuted.

“When matters which have been in public domain and are of national interest are probed, their final reports should be made public and we expect the ZNFU report to be made public now because we have been waiting for it for a long time. We cannot have a situation where illegalities are probed but their ending is not known.

“The ZNFU case is very critical to the nation because donors entrusted that money for the sole purpose of improving the welfare of the farmers. Soon we will be into another farming season and farmers and all the stakeholders want to know where their money went. These people should stop hiding in the name of their investigations being jeopardised if they tell us how far they have gone because this matter can’t take the whole year to conclude,” Dr. Mumba said.

Massive misappropriation of donor funds totalling more than K34 billion (old currency) in activities bordering on fraud, tax evasion and sheer abuse of authority were unearthed at the ZNFU early this year, a development which led to donors cut support to the ZNFU unless the money was refunded.

The detailed 242-paged forensic audit report by EMM Corporate Partners revealed glaring abuses of funds, perpetuated over the years by senior management of the organisation.