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Reinstating suspected thieves

Dear Editor,

IN 2018, the UK government froze aid funding to Zambia, after government admitted that $4.3 million (£3.3m) meant for poor families had gone missing.

The affected sectors included education, health and nutrition sectors including community development. 

Ireland, Finland and Sweden followed suit and also suspended their aid.

The theft occurred to social cash transfer funds and the funds supporting Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs) and special programmes in science and mathematics.

Following a Forensic Audit by the Auditor General Office, the Ministry of Education suspended 71 members of staff pending disciplinary hearings and dismissals, over allegations of their involvement in fraud and theft of donor funded money.

A minister was fired and prosecuted while other heads of departments including the Permanent Secretary at Education were suspended or fired.

Now the Ministry of Education and the Civil Service Commission have submitted a list to the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) seeking clearance that the suspected thieves found wanting by the Auditor General’s Office are immediately reinstated and if possible turned into witnesses.

They claim there were harassed or expelled as a case of victimisation.

Clearly the process to reinstate those that could have been genuinely affected is being abused as it lacks transparency and objectivity.

We saw a case of someone who was dismissed at Zesco in 2013 (before Edgar Lungu’s government) reinstated and given a senior position.


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