Why has Dr Chilufya been singled out for prosecution?
The arrest and charging of Dr Chitalu Chilufya by the Anti-Corruption Commission is not a small thing.
It shows how rotten this government is.
But as per the precedent set in the Ronald Chitoleta case, Dr Chilufya is unlikely to resign as the Minister of Health – he will be going to court as a Cabinet minister. This is a joke, a mockery of justice.
This case, like that of Chitoleta, will end up being a platform for laundering Dr Chilufya. It will be very difficult to fairly and justly prosecute him.
And let’s face it, Dr Chilufya’s alleged transgressions are not isolated from the general corruption of this government. And the buck for all this corruption stops at the President. Edgar Lungu cannot wash his hands from this rot – he is part of it. And because Edgar is part of this rot, prosecutions of these matters cannot go far and achieve the expected outcomes. And we saw this in the prosecutions of Amos Chanda and Chitoleta. Could one really effectively prosecute Amos and Chitoleta without in some way raising Edgar’s role or benefit in what happened? And this raises questions about why Amos’ case ended the way it ended! Similarly, this raises questions about Chitotela’s acquittal. Are these prosecutions really serious or they are just a mockery intended to hoodwink the public?
For a long time, people have been raising concerns about the corruption in the Ministry of Health procurement system. Issues of kickbacks are ceaselessly being raised. Questions about the ownership of some pharmaceutical companies selling drugs to the Ministry of Health are being raised endlessly.
And this is the atmosphere under which Dr Chilufya has been arrested and will be prosecuted. What outcomes can one reasonably expect from such prosecutions?
The Anti-Corruption Commission has charged Chilufya with four counts of possession of property suspected to be proceeds of crime.
“The Anti-Corruption Commission has arrested Minister of Health Dr Chitalu Chilufya. Dr Chilufya, 47, of H/n 4, Robert Kennedy Close, Off Brentwood Avenue, in Lusaka, was arrested today and charged with four counts of possession of property reasonably suspected of being proceeds of crime contrary to section 71 sub section 1 of the Forfeiture of Proceeds of Crime Act No. 19 of 2010,” reads the Anti-Corruption Commission statement. “The arrest follows investigations the Commission has been conducting against the Minister in relation to the above allegations. Honourable Chilufya has since been released on bond in his own recognizance and is expected to appear before the Lusaka Magistrate’s Court on 9th July 2020.”
But how many people in this government, including Edgar himself, can escape such a charge? How many of them own property far beyond their earned incomes and which they will have problems to explain the source?
Can Edgar explain the source of his sudden wealth?
This being the case, why should Dr Chilufya be singled out for prosecution on a matter which is a general malaise of this government?
He was in charge of the money being funded for covid19