PRESS STATEMENT BY THE ACC ON ELECTORAL CORRUPTION
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) would like to clarify its position on this matter in light of the recent debate and queries from the media on the same.
JURISDICTION OF THE ACC
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. In line with its mandate, therefore, the Commission has studied eight (8) Judgments and picked only two for further investigations in order to establish whether sufficient evidence exists to prove a case beyond any reasonable doubt as required in a criminal prosecution. These investigations are currently ongoing and the time factor will not have an effect on the prosecution of offenders provided sufficient evidence will be gathered as aforesaid.
DISQUALIFICATION FOR ELECTION
With regard to disqualification of persons from election on account of electoral corruption, the Electoral Act No.12 of 2006 Section 22 (b) states 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 or of the report, as the case may be”.
It is the Commission’s considered 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 an election for a period of five years.
The first scenario follows a conviction resulting from a criminal investigation and prosecution for corrupt or illegal practice as provided under part vii of 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.
The practice of fielding candidates whose elections have been nullified due to corrupt and other illegal practices should be strongly discouraged as it promotes corruption during elections. The Commission would therefore like to advise all Zambians to desist from engaging in corrupt and other illegal practices at all times including during elections and to uphold values of integrity.
There is need for all players to be proactive in dealing with corrupt and illegal electoral practices. In this regard, the Commission will pursue cases of alleged electoral corruption that relate to its mandate under section 35 of the Anti-Corruption Act as read with section 79 of the Electoral Act.
PUBLIC RELATIONS MANAGER
FOR/ DIRECTOR GENERAL