The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), the primary authority responsible for combating corruption in Zambia, has provided a recent update on its investigations into allegations of corruption and theft involving Ministry of Finance officials.
The latest, according to ACC, is that "investigations into allegations of corruption against Ministry of Finance officials are almost concluded and the Commission will advise on the next course of action".
This update was presented during the ACC's third-quarter media briefing on October 25, 2023.
Back in July, Timothy Moono, the Head of Corporate Communications, mentioned that the Commission was contemplating an out-of-court settlement in response to requests from certain Ministry of Finance officials seeking to return funds they had obtained unlawfully.
“The Commission has been analyzing these requests and may grant them in accordance with Section 80 of the Anti-Corruption Act No. 3 of 2012,” he said during the second quarter media briefing on July 27, 2023.
Moono clarified that there is nothing sinister about allowing the officials to reimburse the funds, as this provision is clearly stipulated in the law. However, he stressed that the concerned officials must fulfill certain obligations, including providing a voluntary and comprehensive disclosure of the unlawfully acquired funds.
MakanDay has been diligently reporting on the latest developments in this case, with particularly concerning details emerging regarding the whistleblower involved.
This whistleblower, currently housed in a secure location under the jurisdiction of the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC), is awaiting further investigation and potential prosecution of those responsible for the offenses he exposed.
Disturbingly, he has become the target of actions taken by certain high-ranking government officials who have managed to evade arrest.
The victimisation of the whistleblower has taken multiple forms, including eviction from the safe house, unjustified disciplinary actions initiated by senior government officials within the Ministry of Finance.
In a puzzling move, he was abruptly transferred to Mongu in the Western Province. His salary has been intentionally withheld for the past ten months, and he has now been entirely removed from the payroll, exacerbating his distress.
In response to the actions of these senior government officials, the ACC issued warnings and caution statements, urging restraint and discouraging any interference in ongoing investigations or further mistreatment of the auditor.
Regrettably, these warnings have been blatantly disregarded, and the implicated senior government officials continue their victimisation of the whistleblower.
It's important to note that, as a whistleblower who has exposed widespread corruption and theft, the auditor is entitled to protection under the Public Interest Disclosure (Protection of Whistleblowers) Act No. 4 of 2010.
Part II of the Act, specifically Section 10, unequivocally states that "An employer shall not subject an employee to any occupational detriment on account, or partly on account, of the employee having made a protected disclosure or public interest disclosure."
The Act defines 'occupation a detriment' to include disciplinary action, dismissal, suspension, demotion, harassment, intimidation, or involuntary transfer due to the disclosure.
This story has been updated.