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UPND Engaging In Selective Bidding to favour friends – Canisius Banda

The United Party for National Development (UPND) has engaged in selective bidding which they condemned and attacked while in opposition to give business to their friends in the auditing of the defence forces, its former vice president Canisius Banda has said.

Dr Banda said that there is nothing wrong with auditing Zambia’s defense forces but that the manner the new dawn administration is doing it is wrong.

Dr Banda said although President Hakainde Hichilema’s administration’s motive for carrying out audits raises suspicion, they are right to do that but, lack the requisite probity for such an exercise.

Dr Banda said any Republican President, through delegated responsibility, should engage in such pursuit meant to foster accountability, transparency and fiscal discipline in how public resources are utilised.

The President, having not declared his assets and liabilities at the start of his presidency, his conduct now is itself an affront to the very principles upon which auditing is founded. It speaks of double standards,” said Dr Banda.

He said the Head of State used to be a senior partner in Grant Thornton, one of the firms picked to carry out the audit of the defence forces through corruption-prone, selective bidding.

Dr Banda also alleged that PriceCoopersWaterhouse, the other firm engaged to examine military books is a ‘‘sister company’’ of Grant Thornton.

Dr Banda said the conduct by Mr Hichilema and his administration has the potential to expose national security secrets to private eyes that can easily translate these secrets into saleable commodities to Zambia’s foes.

Dr Banda said by engaging private firms to audit the defence, there is an indication that the Hichilema administration has no confidence in the current auditor general.

“The fear might be that Dick Sichembe and his band of national auditors, as they audit the defence forces, might actually bury instead of unearthing the very evidence he needs in order to convict his choicest suspects, primarily politically exposed and now vulnerable citizens such as ECL,” he said.

He said the new dawn government lacks the required sophistication for leadership and that one of their major weaknesses lies in announcing to the targets of his hunt that he is coming for them even before he embarks on the hunt.

“This represents a classic case of lack of professionalism, where arrests are promised and announced before the evidence is gathered. This is more a malicious wish than the required national forensic inquiry,” said Dr Banda.