Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services permanent secretary Susan Sikaneta on Friday tried in vain to deny the existence of rampant corruption in government.

Title: Sikaneta Fails to Clear Zambia's Corrupt Image

Summary: Lusaka, Mar 19, 2001 (Post of Zambia/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX)-- Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services permanent secretary Susan Sikaneta on Friday tried in vain to deny the existence of rampant corruption in government.

Source: Africa News Service
Date: 03/19/2001 14:21
Price: Free
Document Size: Short (1 or 2 pages)
Document ID: FC20010319390000149
Subject(s): ANS; Bank; Banking; Broadcasting; Community; Crime; Democracy; Executive; Fire; Foundation; Government; Hotel; Housing; Index; Kwacha; Law; Legislation; Media; Money; Nigeria; Politics; Poverty; Property; Salaries; Sales; Supreme Court; University; War; Zambia



Sikaneta Fails to Clear Zambia's Corrupt Image


Story Filed: Monday, March 19, 2001 2:21 PM EST

Lusaka, Mar 19, 2001 (Post of Zambia/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX)-- Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services permanent secretary Susan Sikaneta on Friday tried in vain to deny the existence of rampant corruption in government.

At a discussion organised by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) under the theme Underlying Causes of Corruption in Zambian Society at Lusaka's Taj Pamodzi Hotel, Sikaneta came under fire from University of Pretoria lecturer Professor Michelo Hansungule (in picture) whose presentation she had described as raw and exaggerated. Sikaneta questioned the reliability of Prof. Hansungule's criteria in determining whether or not Zambia was a corrupt country, further accusing him of denting the image of Zambia abroad.

"The problem is that our determination of corruption is not based on concrete and factual data if and where available, but on our own set minds and attitudes, what we think rather than what the reality is on the ground, concretely," Sikaneta said.

She further accused Prof. Hansungule of jumping to false conclusions by suggesting that some Zambians who were banking their money in Swiss secret accounts were corrupt. "I wish to caution here that we should not jump to conclusions that rich people are corrupt," Sikaneta said. "There are those who are rich who have earned their wealth through hard work and honest and decent means." But Sikaneta failed to give convincing reasons when Prof.

Hansungule challenged her on why some Zambians were banking in secret accounts which were usually associated with "dirty" money. Prof. Hansungule reminded Sikaneta that secret accounts were as a result of the World War II when people wanted to "hide" their money from the Nazi government and wondered why Zambians should be "hiding" their money in the same accounts when the country was not even at war.

"When old bones are mentioned, an old man gets affected," Prof. Hansungule said. "People only banked in Swiss secret accounts during the time of war, during World War II. Zambia is not even in a war situation and it's unlikely that Zambia will be at war. How do we explain that some Zambians have become so rich that they can now bank in Swiss secret accounts?" Prof. Hansungule maintained that most rich people from poor countries who banked in these accounts were corrupt.

He further challenged Sikaneta to justify why there were disparities in terms of the currencies in which different permanent secretaries got their salaries when they were all at the same level. Prof. Hansungule said the differences confirmed the existence of institutionalised corruption in government.

"Certain public officials such as permanent secretaries are actually paid for in US dollars while others get their money in Kwacha," Prof. Hansungule said. "This only explains institutional corruption through conditions of service which are clearly corrupt." Prof. Hansungule said it was frightening to note that Zambia featured prominently among the most corrupt countries in Transparency International's corruption index. He said despite Zambia being a poor country, corruption was almost at the same level with Nigeria which is considered to be the world's most corrupt nation.

"Even though it is not Nigeria, the world's number one corrupt country, the fact that a country as poor as Zambia and with such a small population can capture the attention of the international community as a corrupt society speaks volumes of the kind of problem the people in this country are facing," said Prof. Hansungule.

Integrity Foundation secretary general Dr. Stephen Moyo wondered how Sikaneta could be defending government on corruption when it had failed to account for the loss of US $150 million from cobalt sales. Dr. Moyo wondered why Sikaneta believed there was little corruption in government when it was operating illegal entities like the Presidential Housing Initiative as well as the presidential discretionary fund which he said was only used to corrupt people. Dr. Moyo said most unexplained deaths in Zambia were linked to organised crime which was ultimately linked to corruption. Sikaneta got annoyed when Afronet executive director Ngande Mwanajiti suggested that she speaking out of ignorance.

"I would like to end by saying what the old man, Super Ken (Dr. Kenneth Kaunda) used to say: 'Let's fight ignorance'," Mwanajiti said. But Sikaneta maintained whatever she said was based on concrete facts. "Mr. Mwanajiti has accused me of being ignorant.

I would want to say that what I said was from concrete facts," she said. "There must be proof that can be used to benefit all of us." A former ACC employee, Nobert Mumba questioned why certain individuals had property disproportionate to their emoluments. He said as long as such a situation existed, people would be right to believe in the existence of corruption in government.

"The biggest problem is the proportion of property. Some people were walking, they were crawling a few days ago, where have they got all the property from?" Mumba asked.

"It's difficult to understand the disproportion of emoluments to property." Mumba called for the restructuring of the ACC to ensure that more powers were given to them. He suggested the scrapping of search warrants so that officers could pounce on suspects without alert.

Mumba also suggested that ACC director be given more powers so that he could proceed with prosecution without getting clearance from the Director of Public Prosecution who is his junior.

He said the ACC director was a Supreme Court judge and wondered why he should get instructions from the DPP whether or not to prosecute someone. In his paper, Prof.

Hansungule said corruption was as a result of personal greed, poverty, lack of democracy and political commitment while some people were born criminals.

Other causes were blamed on the low rate of success of convictions of cases in the courts of law, complex and discretionary legislation, inadequate procedures and lack of ethical codes of conduct. Prof. Hansungule said corruption had risen because society had patronised it. Sikaneta said corruption would only be fought through fear of the Lord, respecting the law and maintaining order.

She said the fight would also depend on personal integrity of citizens. "If we cannot be involved in corrupt activities for fear of the Lord, then let us fear the law and maintain order," she said. "The solution also lies in personal integrity." She appealed to the media and the Church to take the lead in the fight against corruption.

by Webster Malido

Copyright Post of Zambia. Distributed by All Africa Global Media(


Copyright © 2001, Africa News Service, all rights reserved.

You may now print or save this document.

Simple Search
Business Search
Power Search
Investext Search
Search News
Stock Quotes
Special Editions™

Portions of above Copyright © 1997-2001, Northern Light Technology Inc. All rights reserved.