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 2010-10-18 02:25 pm Back to NEWS
Mchenga, Shonga’s stance is professional madness — Kabimba
Attorney General (AG) Abyudi Shonga

Wynter Kabimba yesterday described Attorney General Abyudi Shonga and Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Chalwe Mchenga's stance on the abuse of office clause as professional madness.

And Kabimba said the members of parliament who voted for the removal of the clause were a shameful lot that should never be given a fresh mandate by the people in 2011.

Commenting on Parliament's passing of the Anti-Corruption bill that sought to remove the offence of abuse of office from the 1996 Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Act, Kabimba, who is also a lawyer, expressed dissatisfaction with the decision.

"The Zambian people must redeem the law as an instrument of social justice from the hands of those that have come to regard the law as a vehicle to perpetuate their personal interest to the detriment of the people of Zambia," Kabimba said.

"This is the only way one can describe the position taken by the Attorney General and DPP on the removal of the abuse of office clause from the ACC Act. This group of professionals, which has ganged up with a group of mercenary politicians cannot be expected to move this country forward in the fight against corruption."

He said there was nothing unconstitutional about asking someone to account for wealth which is disproportionate to his or her income while serving in public office.

He said there was nowhere in the world where public office paid or made people wealthier than they had been in the private sector.

"The only justification, therefore, that one would have for standing against such a demand for one to prove their wealth is that they want to perpetuate a system where those in public office have become predators of the public resources to which they are not entitled. The MPs who voted for that clause cannot be expected to go back to the people of Zambia in 2011 to ask them to put them back into the same offices when it is very clear that their intention is to work against the interest of the Zambian people," Kabimba said.

"They are indeed a shameful lot that should never at any time ever be entrusted with public office. Having said what I have said, it can only be described as professional madness for anyone at this time when the fight against corruption is a major priority for any country in the world to declare a clause like the one on abuse of office as unconstitutional."

He urged Zambians not to lose heart.

"These political mercenaries are on their way out and our government will certainly not only reinstate that clause but broaden the definition of corrupt practices and abuse of office in a manner that is going to protect the public resources. Corruption should not stop to be corruption just because they have removed that clause," Kabimba said.

"It is not the removal of the abuse of office clause that is going to guarantee immunity to those engaged in corrupt practices. We shall still find out what they have done whilst in office and if they have abused public resources against the people of Zambia, they shall certainly be prosecuted."

He said as far as PF was concerned, the issue had not been closed.

"And does not get closed by removing that clause from the statute books," he said.

On Friday, Parliament passed the Anti-Corruption bill that sought to remove the offence of abuse of office from the 1996 Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Act. This was after the Attorney General and DPP had backed the removal of the offence.

Appearing before the Parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs, Governance, Human Rights and Gender Matters last week, Shonga revealed that the government proposed to remove the abuse of office offence from the ACC Act because it had existed unconstitutionally.

And Mchenga supported the removal of the offence from the Anti Corruption bill, saying it did not promote justice in its current form.

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