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