By Enyichukwu Enemanna
Zambia’s Auditor General, Dick Sichembe and 17 other Ministry of Finance officials have been arrested on corruption and theft of public funds charges, authorities announced on Friday, saying no one is a prime target in the ministry.
The auditor general, 52 along with other officials are accused of benefitting from $25 million payments for fictitious activities.
Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Spokesperson, Timothy Moono, confirmed the arrests to reporters in Lusaka on Friday.
“The commission has subsequently restricted several bank accounts held by individuals suspected to be involved in this saga as part of ongoing investigations,” Moono said.
Investigations had indicted the officials, after a special audit of the government’s financial management information system for the period from 2018 to 2021.
Cabinet Secretary Patrick Kangwa, in an earlier statement, said that “President Hakainde Hichilema has directed that the ongoing investigations must be conducted without any interference.”
Transparency International’s representative in Zambia, Sampa Kalunga, recently complained on a local radio station that the government’s anti-corruption program was “disjointed, archaic and does not show results.”
Similar high profile corruption in recent times had ended in bail, while defendants deny the charges and conviction never happens.