In a significant development on December 13, 2023, the Zambian Appeals Court delivered a landmark verdict, overturning the transfer and dismissing the disciplinary hearing against Grandy Ntumbo, a Principal Internal Auditor with the Ministry of Finance.

Judge Catherine Kunda Makungu, presiding over the case in the Supreme Court, not only directed the payment of Ntumbo's remuneration in arrears but also mandated the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to secure immediate safe house for him.

Ntumbo, known for his courageous exposure of a massive embezzlement scandal within the Ministry of General Education, took legal action against his employer, the Ministry of Finance, the ACC, and the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) in the Lusaka Court.

This legal showdown in the Supreme Court follows a denial of leave to proceed with judicial review proceedings by Lusaka High Court Judge, Elita Phiri Mukwisa.

Despite this setback, the Appeals Court's decisive intervention signals a pivotal moment in the whistleblower's fight for justice.

The courtroom setback unfolded as Judge Mwikisa, at the High Court, rejected leave to proceed with judicial review, citing the belief that the case could be resolved through other avenues.

However, Ntumbo's legal representatives argued vehemently that this is undeniably a matter of public law, specifically governed by the Whistleblowers Protection Act.

The legal battle aims to secure an order against the DEC, preventing the eviction of the auditor from the safehouse he occupied, among other critical remedies.

In a recent exparte hearing on Monday, December 11, 2023, the Attorney General and the ACC sought an adjournment, citing delays in receiving the application and becoming aware of the documents.

Despite opposition from the auditor's legal representatives, the court adjourned the hearing to December 13, 2023, at 09:00hrs, with a determination pending on the withheld salary issue.

With leave pending judicial review granted by Judge Makungu, the auditor's legal team has a 14-day window to commence judicial review proceedings under a different judge of the High Court.


In 2021, Grandy Ntumbo, the Principal Internal Auditor in the Ministry of Finance, unearthed extensive money laundering and corruption schemes involving public funds during an investigation into financial irregularities within the Ministry of General Education.

Additional instances of financial irregularities included K21 million spent on illegal travel allowances for senior Ministry of General Education officials and payments exceeding K2 million for goods that were never delivered. Another example involved the theft of K530,000 at the Provincial Education Office in Kabwe.

Transparency International Zambia's independent investigation in August 2022 exposed embezzlement of overK1 billion from the state treasury, leading to the arrest of senior government officials.

Although these financial irregularities were reported to both the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and DEC, leading to the arrest of 20 senior government officials, including the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, the Accountant General, and the Controller of Internal Audit, there has been no progress on the case.

Targeting of the whistleblower

Ntumbo, placed in a safehouse owned by DEC while awaiting further investigation and the potential prosecution of those responsible for the offenses he exposed, has been facing targeted actions from certain high-ranking government officials who managed to evade arrest.

The victimisation has taken several forms, including unjustified disciplinary actions instigated by senior government officials at the Ministry of Finance.

In an inexplicable move, he was abruptly transferred to Mongu in the Western Province. For close to a year, his salary has been intentionally withheld, and he has now been entirely removed from the payroll, intensifying his distress.

In response to the actions of these senior government officials, the ACC issued warning and caution statements, advising restraint and discouraging any interference in ongoing investigations or further mistreatment of the Auditor.

Legal battle

Legal documents filed in court reveal the auditor's action in initiating a judicial review to challenge the DEC's decision to evict him from a safe house he occupied for over two years.

The lawsuit expanded to include the ACC, alleging their failure to protect the whistleblower. Additionally, the Ministry of Finance faced accusations of transferring him to Mongu and withholding his salary since January 2023, despite being aware of his placement in a safe house for safety reasons.

President Hakainde Hichilema's administration faces scrutiny as victimisation of the whistleblower continues, raising questions about commitment to combating corruption and protecting whistleblowers, as promised during the election campaign.

MakanDay has been taking a closer look at how the story is unfolding.