LUSAKA, FEB 6 — Stakeholders on Wednesday asked Zambian President Edgar Lungu to fire one of his ministers who has been arrested for corruption.
On Tuesday, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) arrested Minister of Infrastructure and Housing Ronald Chitotela and charged him with two counts of concealing property believed to be proceeds of crime.
The minister was picked from his office by officers, driven to his house and later taken to the ACC offices for questioning.
While commending Lungu for living up to his promise that he will not shield any of his ministers if they are involved in corruption, stakeholders have asked him to fire or suspend him from his ministerial position in order to pave way for smooth investigations and prosecution.
Reuben Lifuka, president of the anti-corruption watchdog, Transparency International Zambia, while welcoming the arrest said the minister should be relieved of his duties.
“In the meantime, we call upon President Lungu to immediately relieve Mr. Chitotela of his ministerial duties to allow him to attend to this matter. Further, it is desirable that the work of the ACC is not fettered by having to deal with a serving cabinet minister,” he said.
Mwenya Musenge, secretary-general of the opposition National Democratic Congress, said the minister should not be allowed to occupy public office because he was likely to interfere with vital documents and information.
He said the Zambian leader should consider firing his minister so that he concentrates on his corruption case and urged the anti-corruption agency to further extend the corruption probe to other cabinet ministers who have dubiously acquired wealth in a short period of time.
The Jesuit Center for Theology and Reflections, an influential economic and social lobby group, also said it was in support of other stakeholders in calling on Lungu to suspend or fire the minister in order to pay way for investigations. – XINHUA