Let’s start 2020 with Life style audit and Commission of Inquiry for plunderers of public resources
By Eng Geoffrey Chishimba Chiyumbe
As Zambians we are being ushered into the year 2020 limping economically. According to the 2018 FIC report, a colossal figure of USD 417 million was the amount the nation lost to corruption. This was caused partly by inflated contract prices and wasteful procurement and has been referred to in some circles as a self inflicted wound.
Going into 2020 as a wounded nation entails that we need to carry out some emergency measures and this includes coming up with practical solutions to recover that gigantic amount.
People working in the farm have unfortunately eaten even the seeds leaving our mother Zambia limping. We must stop corruption, wastefulness and theft of public resources if we have to recover as a nation.
It is time that we conduct a life style audit to recover stolen money to boost government coffers. We can’t be this broke as a nation endowed with resources such as minerals. We have just abused and plundered our state resources. We must carry out a life style audit and arrest the criminals. This can cover for instance a period of three years back, that is from 2016 to 2019. The categories often mentioned and proposed to be targeted are the following:
1) Politicians in power abusing state resources by awarding their businesses with government contracts at inflated prices. Carry out life style audit
2) ZRA being key in revenue collection for the government is cardinal in this exercise. Top management, senior managers and lower ranking employees are suspects in plundering state resources as they allegedly diverge into their pockets what belongs to the state coffers. Carry out life style audit.
3) Zesco load shedding has come because of Zesco’s poor financial standing due to amongst others alleged abuse of authority, corruption and illegal legal tendering with inflated contract prices. Who have been benefitting from such contracts? Target top management and senior managers. Carry out life style audit
4) Senior civil servants have been mentioned in plundering public resources. Carry out life style audit
To arrest the ever increasing rampant looting and plundering of public resources which has left government coffers bleeding, carry out life style audit on all senior leaders in government including quasi government institutions. This will Instill sanity in the system.
Government money has been illegally transferred into people’s pockets. In South Africa they are following such individuals legally of course and not witch hunting.
THE Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) has dissolved the board of directors at Times Printpak and removed some senior management staff in a restructuring plan to revive the financially challenged company. Government must ensure Times of Zambia assets are not plundered during the restructuring exercise.
When is the long overdue announcement of Zesco restructuring because if anything Zesco is technically insolvent and in intensive care unit and very critical to the survival of the Zambian economy than Times of Zambia.
With the announced tariff increases effective 1st January 2020 the fear and concern is that as long as the existing leakages identified by the restructuring task force are not sealed, the exercise could be futile in achieving improved profitability for the utility and just a further drain on the already heavily taxed Zambians. You can not fix a problem while maintaining the same people and systems that created it.
Carry out life style audit and set up the commission of inquiry to pursue the plunderers. The move will not only recover some funds but most importantly will deter the future would – be plunderers. By this we will have arrested the growing trend of looting of public resources.