President Hakainde Hichilema has warned Procurement Officers handling government contracts against engaging in corrupt activities as they carry out their duties.
Hichilema stated that the long arm of the law would not hesitate to visit such officers and ensure that correct punitive action was taken against them.
The Head of State said this on Saturday in Lusaka during the 2023 International Anti-Corruption Day, in a speech read on his behalf by Home Affairs and Internal Security Minister Jack Mwiimbu.
He said that government’s fight against corruption had been methodical and professional, making corruption an unattractive endeavour for those who may wish to engage in it.
“We are resolute in eradicating corruption from the civil service, public procurement system, government contract awards, and all sectors of our economy to ensure Zambia’s prosperity,” Hichilema warned.
The Head of State also implored citizens to report suspected misconduct in the management and distribution of resources to law enforcement agencies.
He said government had taken a proactive stance on reviewing the National Anti-Corruption Policy which aims to develop a new policy that would offer national guidance on strategies and programmes to combat corruption effectively.
“We are working diligently to involve various sectors of society, ensuring that the fight against corruption is inclusive, with all citizens informed of their role and empowered to contribute to the struggle,” Hichilema emphasized.
He said government had further granted the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) the authority to expand its operational presence in Zambia and that the Commission had spread its operations to 12 additional districts in Zambia.
This year’s International Anti-Corruption Day carries the theme: “UNCAC at 20: Uniting the World Against Corruption.”
ACC Board Chairperson, Musa Mwenye, disclosed that the Commission recovered proceeds of crime amounting to K136, 059, 545 during the period from 2017 to 2021 under the previous strategic plan.
Mwenya added that the Commission also recorded an improvement in the conviction from rate from an average of 61 percent over the 2012 to 2016 period to 65 percent in the previous period from 2017 to 2021
Meanwhile, United Nations Resident Coordinator, Beatrice Munthali, said the UN stands ready to explore frameworks of support both technical and financial and especially aspects of prevention such as assets declaration.
Munthali stated that this would include measures aimed at returning assets to their rightful owners and mutual legal assistance in criminal matters given the increasingly transboundary nature of corruption and related crimes.
“It is important to ensure that the institutions are well resourced and have the capacity to carry out their mandates with independence and integrity,” she said.
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