The Alliance for Community Action (ACA) is deeply concerned with the corruption allegations brought forward by Mr. Saviour Chishimba the president of the opposition United Progressive People (UPP) party in connection with the Youth empowerment funds.
The UPP leader has alleged that there has been large scale embezzlement of youth empowerment funds by what he terms an illegal committee of the Public and Private Drivers Association of Zambia (PPDAZ).
The alleged corruption concerns a fund meant for the empowerment of youth across the country. Money has allegedly been collected from poor youths who have since not benefited from the empowerment programme.
Copies of documents, details of alleged meetings complete with times and notable attendees have also been published by Mr. Chishimba.
The judiciary and Registrar of Societies have also been cited for serious compromise in the alleged malpractice through a court allegedly dismissing of a matter before it without hearing the case from the plaintiffs and by irregular change of office bearers for PPDAZ respectively.
Without wanting to make any suggestion of validity of the allegations made by the UPP President, it is the view of the ACA that the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) should seriously pursue these allegations fairly and transparently.
We also call on the Ministry of Youth and Sport, The Registrar of Socities and the Judiciary to institute independent inquiries in their respective institutions and inform the nation accordingly on the substance or lack thereof of these allegations.
At a time in when the nation is battling to balance its budget, it is critical that government resources be protected and seen to be protected through the investigation of any suggestion of misuse of funds. The ACA is of the view that if Zambia prevented large scale loss of resources via corruption, citizens would be able to access a much higher standard of services like health and education. In this regard, citizens should be certain that any suggestions of impropriety will be investigated and those accused given a chance to clear their names.
As ACA we also call on all security agencies and the ACC to protect all witnesses and whistle-blowers including Mr. Chishimba himself from any possible harassment and or compromise. Further, we call for the securing of all the evidence provided by the UPP. It is very important that both witnesses and evidence are secured for the matter to be conclusively dealt with.
Finally, the ACA wishes to call on all members of the media and general public to take keen interest in this and any matters involving public funds. Citizens are duty bound to demand optimum and equitable use of public resources and conclusive answers on all matters of corruption. Only if citizens robustly demand accountability will they benefit from their tax and other public resources.
Executive Director, Ms Laura Miti
Information and Advocacy Officer, Alliance for Community Action