Zambia vows corruption crackdown

2011-10-14 22:37
Lusaka - Zambia's new president Michael Sata on Friday vowed to beef up anti-corruption laws and to investigate allegations of wrongdoing by the previous government, in his first address to parliament.

"We will investigate acts of corruption by the previous government. Our country needs a new beginning," Sata said.

"If found wanting, you will be prosecuted regardless of your status. I want to sound a timely warning that this government has taken a zero stance to corruption," he said.

Sata said he would strengthen anti-corruption legislation by putting back on the books the offence of abuse of office, which the previous government had repealed.

Since winning September 20 elections, Sata has wasted little time in putting his mark on the government, which had been run for 20 years by the Movement for Multiparty Democracy of former president Rupiah Banda.

One of his first acts was to sack the head of the Anti-Corruption Commission, Godfrey Kayukwa, who had been accused of bungling graft investigations and was perceived as close to Banda.

Anti-graft watchdog Transparency International and opposition politicians had earlier called on Kayukwa to resign.

He was accused of mishandling enquiries into corruption allegations against Universal Print Group, the company that printed ballot papers during the past two presidential elections.

Sata campaigned on a pro-poor platform, promising to crack down on corruption.

Banda's government refused to appeal the corruption acquittal of former president Frederick Chiluba, whom investigators accused of embezzling $500 000 during his 1991 to 2002 presidency.

The Banda administration fired Task Force on Corruption boss Max Nkole after he tried to appeal the ruling. Then it disbanded the Task Force.

- SAPA
Read more on:    michael sata  |  zambia  |  southern africa
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