By Thomas Ngala
ANTONIO Mwanza has charged that within 11 months the UPND government cannot account for US $100 million.
The PF media director said Dr George Magwende, the former Ministry of Health permanent secretary for administration, should not be used as a sacrificial lamb.
Dr Magwende was fired by President Hakainde Hichilema last Sunday and immediately was called for questioning by the Anti-Corruption Commission.
Mwanza said he feels sorry for Dr Magwende adding that the current administration should be held accountable over $100 million prefab Covid hospitals matter.
He said this when he featured on 5FM’s State of the Nation on Thursday.
“And I look at Dr Magwende, I feel sorry for that comrade for simple reasons. First of all, Zambians must be told the truth. A US $100 million deal cannot go through without the approval of Cabinet which is headed by the President. The permanent secretary cannot write to the Secretary to the Treasury to ask for US $100 million without the approval of Cabinet, without the approval of the line Ministry,” Mwanza said. “The people who are supposed to be held accountable for this US $100 million…it has to start with Cabinet, which is headed by the President. Iyi (this) US $100 million…in 11 months, inayenda kuti (where has it gone)? Who approved it? What role did the Ministry of Finance play? What role did the Ministry of Health play? What role did the Secretary to the Treasury [Felix Nkulukusa] play? You can’t use Magwende as a sacrificial lamb.”
He advised Dr Magwende to tell Zambians the “truth” when the matter goes to court.
“Tell the Zambian people the truth. You were a junior officer in the group, an implementation officer, a permanent secretary employed by the President on a contract of three years,” Mwanza said. “A very junior officer. You don’t make policy. The policy is made by government officials, Cabinet. You don’t approve government expenditure. It is approved by Cabinet.”
On Thursday, ACC director general Gilbert Phiri told The Mast that investigations in the matter in Dr Magwende was summoned is wide ranging and that he is simply one of the persons that the commission wanted to interview.
“It is an ongoing investigation. There are a lot of documents to go through. So it is a wide ranging investigation concerning that issue. Dr Magwende was simply one of the persons we wanted to talk to,” said Phiri. “The conclusion of our investigation will be made public. Once we conclude and you know we are not assuming anything in our investigations. They have been on-going but whatever will be concluded will be in public interest. Obviously, it will be in public interest. I mean we are dealing with health. We are dealing with colossal sums of money involved. We are dealing with possible government liability which impacts on the public person. It is an issue in public interest. So it is not in the interest of the public at the end of investigation not to inform them.”