Newly appointed Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director-General (DG) Martha Chizuma Thursday appeared before the Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament and justified the need for the bureau to have an operations account for it to handle cases with speed.
Chizuma asked the committee to help the bureau convince the Treasury to allow her institution to have the account.
She appeared before committee members, in the company of ACB officials, to justify and defend the bureau’s 2021/22 budget.
“There are times officers have to be on the ground as soon as possible before the available evidence is distorted but, with the current system, it is difficult to do so,” she said
The proposal to have an operations account was previously shot down but the committee, through its chairperson Noel Lipipa, said the Treasury would be re-engaged on the issue.
Chizuma assured committee members that the bureau was ready to fight corruption in both public and private sectors.
On the budgetary allocation, the bureau said it was worried that its allocation had been trimmed from K4.6 billion to K3.9 billion.
ACB Deputy DG Elia Bodole said the reduction was a blow to the watchdog.
“As you can see, the cost of living is rising; there is inflation. We would have wanted at least our levels to be the same as last [fiscal year],” Bodole said.
Member of Parliament for Salima Central Gerald Phiri asked the bureau to make its anti-corruption messages more visible for community members to participate in its exercises.
According to the Bureau, there are 852 complaints to be handled and processed, with 314 corruption cases to be investigated and 60 corruption cases to be prosecuted.