AS the lid on crimes committed during the reign of the PF begins to slowly unravel, can its former leaders escape the legal dragnet sweeping like a hurricane?
The latest debacle on legal woes affecting some leaders of the former PF regime cannot escape mention; “72 motor vehicles seized at a farm in Lusaka”; A judge indicted for alleged involvement in illegal land transfers, the list goes on and on.
And meanwhile, the Anti corruption crusade is showing no signs of letting as more of former President Edgar Lungu’s close political acquaintances, business associates and even relatives are brought before the law to answer to, and tell the truth about what really went on during their hey days in power.
As the officers of the law up their game in following up these matters, so do the choruses of anti-crime busting sentiment echo, rising in decibels, poking holes and criticising any inquiry commissioned to bring to justice whomever may have been involved in crime.
Unduly blaming the UPND administration of perpetuating a tribal crusade against those who committed crimes, does not just smack of a crude way of defending the indefensible, but is a shallow and dangerous way of regionalising a decent fight against evils of society.
The horrors of the extent of grand corruption plunder and blatant theft of public resources now unraveling will not go past many of them, or ultimately former president Edgar Lungu. It is hard to phantom that as a leader, he may not have been privy to some of the rot that was going on under his watch as President.
With scandals by his former close allies teetering too close around the former presidency, will he sacrifice some of his most loyal, by disowning them or is he ready to go down with them?
For seven years, President Lungu and his government remained mute and failed to publicly denounce the growing scourge of institutionalised graft, often challenging those that dared speak out as doomsayers who must present empirical evidence of wrong doing to him or otherwise shut up.
He was often at variance with oversight institutions such as the Financial Intelligence Crimes unit (FIC) for red flagging suspicious transactions by Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs)
The not so complimentary glaring reports coming from FIC seemed to infuriate President Lungu so much that soon, heads rolled at the institute. This was so because, most of the expositions allegedly indicted his closest lieutenants.
Snippets of revelations of mal-financial administration so far indicate that, no arm of government or sector was spared from this malignant malady; the judiciary, legislature, the executive and most ministries, through which trillions of Kwacha were criminally and systematically hemorrhaged, leaving public institutions inept from carrying out their functions.
Shockingly, some of the shady works such as the University building funds fiasco where millions of dollars were released to Chinese firms to begin construction works for the FTJ Chiluba University in Luapula and the Ntumpa University in Northern Province but years later, there is not even a single block to show for.
These and many other such were but a few of the projects used as conduits of outright pilferage of public funds. US $33 million dollars and US $122,500 respectively. Gone! No trace?
How then can anyone reconcile the fact that there was a sitting government and a head of state presiding over the land, who had no idea; if not that he was privy to what was going on, or chose to give a blind eye and or, that he may have been part and parcel of this intriguing ‘money minting matrix?’
As if that was not enough, more and more former leaders are being picked up to help in investigations for questionable acquisition of funds and buildings incommensurate with their incomes while in government.
The levels of unexplained spending and signing off of government funds in ponzi schemes and shadowy figures masquerading as international business executives is also one aspect that will soon hit the fan and further expose what kind of rotten system President Lungu superintended over.
It evidently will not be easy for those championing the corruption fight against a strong and extremely rich gang of evil people who entrenched their position for seven years with stashes of ill-gotten funds which they are now using to defend the indefensible.
The seemingly excruciating slow pace at which suspects are being brought to justice may be frustrating, but the odds are still stacked against those that stole and have an axe to grind with the public. Those that, have taken what does not belong to them.
From a bird’s eye view, it is evident there are some officers of the judiciary who have thrown their wigs and gowns of honour out of the window to unfairly apply the law by purposely passing judgments in favour of those who have clearly erred.
Such officers of the judiciary who dare walk that path of shame risk ruining their reputation against their sworn oath of allegiance to truth fairness and Justice.
At the core of the cleansing of this sector and the sooner that these reforms are actualised, the easier the fight against graft. There seems to be renewed government zeal to hasten the move.