Several Zambian key figures were arrested this week by Zambia’s Anti-Corruption Commission, in a suspected scam that led to the failure to build a university named after late second President Fredrick Chiluba.
In a weeklong operation former Treasury Secretary Fredson Yamba along with Patrick Nkanza and Owen Mugemezulu, both former education secretaries were arrested for “willful failure to comply with procurement procedure relating to the project contract”.
Yamba is suspected to have failed to comply with the procedure when he authorized the payment of $33million to a contractor to build the university in Northern Zambia.
According to Commission’s Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Timothy Moono, Nkanza failed to comply with the procedure in sanctioning a $225million contract for the project, a similar offense for which Mugemezulu was arrested as the duo served as permanent secretaries in the ministry at different intervals.
Moono told reporters in the capital Lusaka that Nkanza had been released on bond and would appear in court soon.
He did not give an exact date on Yamba’s court appearance, while Mugemezulu, who was apprehended earlier, had already appeared before the court.
The commission had an active week, also apprehending ex-ministers Lusaka Bowman and Ronald Chitotela who served at the Tourism Ministry.
All five served under the erstwhile Edgar Lungu-led regime ousted last August by Hakainde Hichilema’s United Party for National Development.
Hichilema strongly campaigned against Lungu’s Patriotic Front which he labeled as corrupt and vowed to pursue all cases involving “looted” state assets.
In a radio feature on Thursday, Brian Mundubile, an opposition leader accused Hichilema of vilifying political opponents with an anti-corruption crusade aimed at swaying citizens away from the country’s social challenges.
Hichilema, however, maintains that the exercise is no witch-hunt based on political affiliation or racial descent.