7 December 2012

Zambia: Sata Chides Anti-Corruption Commission

PRESIDENT Michael Sata has castigated the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) for announcing cases under investigation to the public and called for restoration of sanity to the institution.

The Head of State also said the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) requires urgent attention so as to motivate the teaching fraternity.

Mr Sata said this when he swore in ACC Commissioner Rollen Mukanda and seven members of the TSC headed by Jennipher Chiwela, a renowned educationalist, at State House in Lusaka yesterday.

Mr Sata said it was wrong for the ACC to reveal its investigations in the media as this was against the rules of natural justice that required persons being probed to have a chance to exculpate themselves.

This was in an apparent reference to the manner the ACC had handled the investigation involving Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba and his Defence counterpart Geoffrey Mwamba.

Mr Sata said he would not suspend anyone on mere allegations but wait until the ACC proves a solid case against a public officer.

"I won't suspend anybody unless you prove to me. The law says if you have a senior official you want to investigate, come and get permission from me. You don't go to the Press and say we are investigating somebody. That's the MMD's way of doing things," he said.

Mr Kabimba was summoned to the ACC offices for questioning on Monday this week but the matter failed to take off after he refused to be interviewed in private, insisting that the matter was already in the public domain.

Mr Kabimba is alleged to have received 'kickbacks' from Trafigura to influence a US$500 million oil deal, while Mr Mwamba was being investigated over a bid by a firm in which he has interest for the supply of poles to Zesco.

"How would you feel, if you are being investigated in the Times of Zambia, natural justice demands that an accused person should be given a chance to be heard, and not investigated in the newspaper.

"Don't rush to the newspapers, give suspects the right to be heard as well, just like you enjoy your rights. I won't fire anyone without proof," Mr Sata said.

On the TSC, the President said there was need for inspiration levels to be heightened so as to motivate both teachers and pupils.

He expressed worry at the increase in examination leakages and defilement cases, adding that teacher recruitment should be professional to ensure the standards of education were improved.

"I don't know what has gone wrong to the Teaching Service Commission, you have to improve, you are dealing with people of a tender age and they need inspiration," Mr Sata said.

He warned that he would not hesitate to dissolve the Commission if it failed to perform to people's expectations.

"Just the way I have appointed this Commission, that is the same way I can disband it if you do not perform, I don't need a Press briefing to disband it, I can just do it by the stroke of a pen," Mr Sata said.

Ms Mukanda is a qualified agriculturalist with vast experience in both the public and private sectors. In 2004, she was appointed technical coordinator in the agri-business component of the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources.

In 2006, she became technical coordinator in the policy and planning department in the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives.

She left the civil service in 2007 to join the Zambia National Women's Lobby as executive director, a position she held until May, this year.

Since then, she has been a freelance consultant in agri-business and gender development.

Ms Chiwela has worked in the field of education for the past 42 years and draws her vast professional work experience from village to international levels.

She is chairperson of the African Network Campaign on Education for All.

Ms Chiwela is also the co-founder of the People's Action Forum, an indigenous non-governmental organisation established to assist capacity building of rural communities through both formal and non-formal education.

Through the organisation's programme activities, Ms Chiwela became actively involved in the Education for All initiative, taking part with other NGOs in the national assessment process in 1999.

She also participated in both the International Consultation of NGOs/CSOs and the World Education Forum in Dakar, Senegal.

Other members of the TSC are Agness Nyoni, Alfred Sikazwe, David Kandolondo, Justo Chishimba, Kajet Kayama, and Robam Mwaba.

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