ACC finds tell-tale signs of corruption on 2 electoral seats

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THE Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has identified two election petition judgments out of eight for further investigations to establish whether sufficient evidence of electoral corruption exists.
ACC spokesperson Timothy Moono, who said this in Lusaka yesterday, says the investigations will establish whether cases of corruption have been proved beyond reasonable doubt as required in a criminal prosecution.
He did not name the two constituencies which have been identified.
Mr Moono also says fielding candidates whose elections have been nullified due to corrupt and other illegal practices should be strongly discouraged as it promotes corruption during elections.
Mr Moono said in a statement that the ACC’s jurisdiction in the matter is restricted to bribery only.
“In terms of section 35 of the Anti-Corruption Act No.3 of 2012, the commission’s jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute electoral corruption is limited to corrupt practice by way of bribery only, as prescribed under section 79 of the Electoral Act No. 12 of 2006,” he said.
Mr Moono said the investigations are still going on and “there should be no worry about how much time this will take to gather the evidence.”
“These investigations are currently ongoing and the time factor will not have an effect on the prosecution of offenders, provided sufficient evidence is gathered,” he said.
On disqualification of anyone from election on account of electoral corruption, Mr Moono says the Electoral Act No.12 of 2006 Section 22 (b) is clear.
“The Electoral Act says that any person who is convicted of any corrupt practice or illegal practice or who is reported guilty of any corrupt practice or illegal practice by the High Court upon the trial of an election petition under this Act shall not be qualified for election as a member of the National Assembly for a period of five years from the date of the conviction,” he said.
Mr Moono says it is the ACC’s view that there are two scenarios under Section 22(b) of the Electoral Act where people whose seats have been nullified for corrupt or illegal practice in an election petition can be disqualified for five years.
He said the first scenario follows a conviction resulting from a criminal investigation and prosecution for corrupt or illegal practice, as provided under the Electoral Act.
“The second scenario follows a report on the corrupt or illegal practice proved during an election petition.  In terms of Section 104 of the Electoral Act, the report is made by the Registrar of the High Court to the Electoral Commission of Zambia and the Director of Public Prosecutions. It is the commission’s view that this scenario does not require a criminal conviction to enforce,” he said.
He advised all Zambians to desist from engaging in corrupt and other illegal practices at all times, including during elections and to uphold integrity.