Private practice lawyer Justin Dzonzi says increased funding alone is not enough to enable the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) effectively fight corruption in the country.
Dzonzi, who is also executive director of Justice Link, was speaking in an interview in reaction to Finance, Economic Planning and Development Minister Goodall Gondwe’s announcement in the 2014/15 National Budget that funding to ACB has been increased.
In the budget statement, Gondwe announced an increase in the allocation to the ACB vote by 167 percent which the bureau’s spokesperson Egrita Ndala put at K1.4 billion.
The minister said more resources will help the bureau efficiently fight corruption.
However, Dzonzi said in an interview yesterday money is not the only factor necessary in the fight against corruption.
“Money accounts for only 25 percent of the ACB’s requirements and 75 percent has to do with political will,” said Dzonzi.
He said deliberate ignorance of the root cause of corruption is heavily harming the country.
Said Dzonzi: “The majority of corruption cases involve people that are in power. That is why whenever there is change of government, leaders of such institutions as ACB are replaced.”
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration has removed ACB director Rezine Mzikamanda, who is a Supreme Court of Appeal judge, and Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Bruno Kalemba. The former is yet to be replaced whereas Mary Kachale replaced Kalemba.
Dzonzi observed that starting from United Democratic Front (UDF)-led government through DPP to People’s Party (PP), only those that were in bad books with government were either arrested or prosecuted.
Said Dzonzi: “Take for example the Cashgate [where government funds were looted], only people that are not in substance are being prosecuted, but most of the big fish are left scot-free. So, yes, funding is good in order for the ACB to carry out investigations or hire prosecutors but that accounts for only 25 percent of the needs.
“Again, can you ask yourself why a clerk who was found with K400 million into his account is not prosecuted? Is it also because of lack of funding?”