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 2010-02-08 01:41 am Back to NEWS
Rescind K5bn NCC payment, CCZ urges Kunda
 NCC Delegates

COUNCIL of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) yesterday appealed to Vice-President George Kunda to rescind his “bad proposal” to pay about K5 billion—(or the equivalent of more than US$1 million)—to ministers and other Lusaka-based parliamentarians attending the NCC.

And All People’s Congress (APC) president Ken Ngondo observed that the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) is a money-spinner for Vice-President Kunda, ministers and other delegates.

Commenting on The Post's exposé that Vice-President & Justice minister Kunda last month recommended to Cabinet to pay about K5 billion to ministers, deputy ministers and four ordinary parliamentarians attending the NCC as facilitation allowance, CCZ general secretary Reverend Suzanne Matale said the decision showed disrespect and lack of good judgment on the part of Vice-President Kunda.

“We can only appeal to the Vice-President to rescind this bad proposal as it only serves to upset the many Zambians who are also deserving for their contributions to the nation,” Rev Matale said.

Rev Matale said there were many Zambians that retired from serving the nation diligently in various capacities in government that had not yet been paid their meagre pensions while others had even died due to poverty-related illnesses.

And Ngondo demanded that President Rupiah Banda gives his position on Vice-President Kunda's demands and his failure to circulate the Cabinet memorandum to his Cabinet colleagues.

“I can assure you that if there will be change of government, things will be bad, I think these people will have to pay back like the British parliamentarians where they are being asked to pay back public funds. They will have to pay back public funds and they will be declared bankrupt.

I am sure the late president Levy Patrick Mwanawasa would not have accepted what is going on now,” Ngondo said. “George Kunda has been very arrogant. What are they doing about it as Cabinet? Was the President aware? If he is aware, what are his comments on it? His Cabinet colleagues who were not shown the Cabinet memorandum what are they saying? Are they just going to allow this thing to go by? That is why I am saying we should take a long term view; this money must be paid back at a later stage.”

He said Vice-President Kunda's demand for payment of K5 billion to ministers and other Lusaka-based parliamentarians was plunder of national resources.

“They can get away now when they have this term of office but if they lose the next year, these issues must be revised. This is an open plunder of our resources. To some of us, the NCC, we were prepared that it should be a voluntary commitment where people should not be paid for making the constitution. But it's a money spinner.

If it K5 billion will be implemented, then government should also pay the UNIP retirees their money,” Ngondo said. “It NCC has become a money-making venture. They want to make enough money for themselves before the end of their term of office. It has become employment but this is plunder of our resources.”

Ngondo wondered why Vice-President Kunda wanted to be paid more money as NCC delegate when many people that worked in the UNIP government were poor and had not been paid their retirement packages.

Meanwhile, Patriotic Front (PF) president Michael Sata called for investigations into the expenditures of the NCC.

“All security wings must storm NCC and investigate it the way they are investigating Inspector General of Police Francis Kabonde. The NCC has even paid the price of two computers for one computer,” Sata alleged.

Sata wondered why members of parliament for Nchelenge and Chasefu, Benjamin Mwila and Chifumu Banda respectively, were being paid as Lusaka-based parliamentarians when in fact their constituencies were in rural areas.

Federation of Free Trade Unions in Zambia (FFTUZ) president Joyce Simukoko said workers would not accept a poor package at the conclusion of salary negotiations following Vice-President Kunda's recommendation to Cabinet to pay K5 billion allowances for Lusaka-based NCC commissioners.

Simukoko said FFTUZ and its affiliates would consider the recommendation as theft.

“You see Zambia has a lot of money when looking at the Auditor General's reports that reveals how public funds are misappropriated and misapplied. So government can't claim there is no money because money is found for very few people and to the majority it is not available hence workers will not accept a poor package of conditions of service,” Simukoko said. “And to those negotiating for workers, they should use this Vice-President Kunda's recommendation as a basis to ask for better conditions and if this K5 billion is paid out then it is theft and at an appropriate time those involved will be taken to court.”

Roan PF member of parliament Chishimba Kambwili challenged public service unions to negotiate for more packages considering that government had money to back date payments to selected participants at the NCC.

Kambwili said public service workers' unions should capitalise on the evil intentions of Vice-President Kunda.

“We shall arrest George Kunda for fraudulent activities and whoever gets it will be asked to pay back and I challenge the unions to capitalise on this issue and ask for more money because it is now clear that there is money in government and how can somebody be paid over K100 million when teachers are getting peanuts?” asked Kambwili.

According to a Cabinet memorandum dated January 2010, Vice-President Kunda recommended that Cabinet approve payment of utility/facilitation allowance to Lusaka-based members of parliament at the rate of K650,000 per day backdated to December 19, 2007 when the NCC started its sittings.

The Post

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