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 2010-11-27 10:00 pm Back to NEWS
DEC is acting with double standards — Sichinga
Bob Sichinga

Bob Sichinga says the Drug Enforcement Commission is displaying double standards on the questioning of Michael Sata over the US$100,000 transaction at Finance Bank.

And Transparency International Zambia chapter president Reuben Lifuka regrets that the DEC has demonstrated that it tolerates “somebody to commit an offence to demonstrate an offence.”

Sichinga, an economic consultant, said the DEC had not established the principle under which to pursue Sata.

“That is why it is important to establish the principle in the first place,” Sichinga said when he featured on Radio Phoenix’s Let the People Talk programme yesterday. “Is it the duty of the DEC to investigate corruption? Or is their duty to attend to issues pertaining to matters of drug abuse? Money laundering? In this particular situation we have at the moment, if it is an issue of corruption, the question we must ask is ‘Did Mr Sata commit an offence by having money in his bank account and for using it for whatever purpose he wants? Did he commit an offence or not? If the answer to that is no, then DEC has no business investigating Mr Sata. If, on the other hand, Mr Sata is suspected to be involved in drug dealing, then DEC has every right to investigate not only Mr Sata but everybody else that has got money that is …”

He wondered why the DEC was pursuing Sata for US$100,000 in his account when former president Frederick Chiluba had been allowed to keep US$8 million in the Zamtrop account, money whose source he had failed to substantiate or explain.

Sichinga warned that the double standards being displayed by DEC and its lack of autonomy were a recipe for anarchy in the country.

“And DEC is not acting on their own,” he warned. “When you set up standards, we must have the same standards. If you don’t, then you start fighting over who is investigated and who is not investigated.”

And Lifuka said DEC was being asked to question Sata based on Edward Mumbi’s ‘evidence’, which was illegally obtained.

“… In any case, Mr Mumbi claims he has access to bank accounts of Mr Sata. My only worry is that legal in itself? Can I commit an offence in order to demonstrate an offence?” Lifuka wondered.

He said if Mumbi contended that civic organisations that denounced President Rupiah Banda’s regime were being funded for their activities, Mumbi and other groups’ praise-singing of the current regime should also disclose their sources of funding.

“That is where we have a problem. Mr Mumbi can freely exercise his freedom of expression and claim this is what is happening. Anyone who does this like Fr Bwalya exercises his freedom of expression, then, Fr Bwalya is paid by Mr Sata in order to express himself. Those are double standards. The question is ‘Who is paying Mr Mumbi for his right to expression?’” Lifuka asked. “If he believes he has the right to expression and can say freely what he believes, he should also believe all the other people can do that without being paid.”

Lifuka said DEC should be interested in the US$8 million in the Zamtrop account, which Chiluba claimed was his.

He challenged the DEC to investigate sources of funding for all political parties and make public their findings to promote the rule of natural justice and transparency as opposed to selective prosecution.

“The principle that we should be held accountable for the resources that come in our possession, needs to be followed to the letter. Today, Michael Sata as president of PF is being asked where he got his US$100,000. DEC will legitimately claim they are just doing their work. The issue they are not asking is, where is MMD getting its monies? Where are all other political parties getting their monies? We need disclosure from all the political parties, starting with where the ruling party is getting its money,” he said. “President Mwanawasa openly indicated that he was the sole signatory to a bank account in Finance Bank for the ruling MMD … Since Mr Mumbi is interested in monies that goes into political party accounts and leaders of political parties, shouldn’t he extend his search to what the MMD have also been receiving? So, DEC will do one quick sweep. Let them give us an overview on all political parties, it would be fair that as opposed to this witch hunt which comes two years down the line.”

On Wednesday, the DEC questioned Sata in connection with US$100,000. This follows claims by MMD cadre Edward Mumbi that Sata financed Change Life Zambia executive director Fr Frank Bwalya with US$100,000 to campaign against the MMD.

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