…Zambia stands to lose future  funding until all  the money that has been stolen is recovered

SWEDEN will not fund the Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) until all the stolen money has been refunded.

  Swedish deputy Head of Mission and Bilateral Development Cooperation to Zambia David Wiking does not see Sweden continuing to support the ZNFU programme where about K34 million was misappropriated.

Now the entire board of ZNFU has been asked to resign for allowing the theft of collosal sums of money.

Civil Society for Poverty Reduction (CSPR) communications programme coordinator Maxson Nkhoma has demanded that in the interest of good cooperate governance, accountability and for justice to take its roots without any perceived interference the entire ZNFU board must resign.

On Tuesday, the Drug Enforcement Commission slapped three charges on former ZNFU president Evelyn Nguleka and executive director Ndambo Ndambo for alleged misapplication of K34 million donor funds.

In an interview with the Daily Nation yesterday, Mr Wiking insisted that funds misappropriated by ZNFU should be refunded despite some officials being arrested by DEC.

He said the embassy would come up with the amount which ZNFU must pay back because the two audit reports had different figures of the money misappropriated by ZNFU.

Mr Wiking said the first and second audit reports came up with different amounts and that there was also a third amount according to the investigations conducted by DEC.

He said Sweden would not be able to continue funding ZNFU the same way it used to fund the union before the misappropriation of K34million.

“But at the moment I do not see us continue with the ZNFU programme,” Mr Wiking said.

Meanwhile, Mr Nkhoma said in a statement that time had come for ZNFU to be held accountable not only to the donors but also to the people of Zambia and the farming community on whose behalf ZNFU was being funded.

Mr Nkhoma said the farming community suffered untold misery at the hands of the current ZNFU Board and its management as a result of misappropriation of funds which were meant to boost the agriculture sector in Zambia.

“It is regrettable and unfortunate that money meant to support the growth of small scale farmers in Zambia went into the pockets of few individuals,” he said.

Mr Nkhoma said it was such kind of behaviour which had affected the implementation of poverty reduction programmes in Zambia and if left unchecked rural poverty would remain stubbornly very high in Zambia.

He also said that CSPR welcomed the resignation of Dr Nguleka, stating that it was imperative that the entire board of the ZNFU resigns in the interest of justice and smooth conclusion of investigations by law enforcement agencies without any perceived intimidation which may cause hindrance of justice as a result of tempering with critical documents and evidence.

“From the conduct of the ZNFU Board since these allegation started, it is very clear in the minds of stakeholders that the entire ZNFU board was well aware of the alleged misappropriation of donor funds and could have been involved in the alleged misappropriation of funds. This is evidenced by failure to take any action against management even when the evidence of wrong doing was overwhelming,” he said.

He said CSPR was, however, saddened that ZNFU had found itself in such a situation at a critical time when stakeholders were looking up to them to help provide solutions on how the country could successfully diversify its economy from being a copper dependent to an agricultural-based exporting country.

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