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The Post Zambia

By Chibaula Silwamba

September 7th, 2011

UNITED STATES embassy in Lusaka confidential cables released by Wikileaks have revealed why President Rupiah Banda has taken a soft stance on corruption.

According to the cables, President Banda told World Bank vice-president that he could not take robust anti-corruption stance because he has multiple constituencies to satisfy.

And the cables revealed that immediate-past World Bank country manager Kapil Kapoor said President Banda’s “friendship” with the late Frederick Chiluba could be because the former president had incriminating information on the incumbent or he was funding President Banda’s 2011 re-election campaign.

Meanwhile, the cables revealed that the US government regarded Vice-President George Kunda as an obstacle to progress in fighting corruption…In another cable prepared by Koplovsky dated May 28, 2009, the diplomat revealed that Sweden and the Netherlands’s freezing of their development assitance to Zambia’s health sector reflected mounting donor anxiety, not so much at corruption itself but the Banda-government’s seemingly tepid response to it.

Koplovsky stated that seized with the idea that other donors would slash their funding, President Banda summoned numerous heads of diplomatic missions to State House on May 26, 2009 to reassure them of government’s on-going commitment to fighting corruption.

Koplovsky stated that during the meeting, the diplomatic and donor community called for decisive government action to improve transparency of public procurement and financial management. He stated that these developments presented an opportunity to the diplomatic community, which had the government’s full attention and which may be better poised to secure long-awaited government buy-in on several anti-corruption priorities, including anti-money laundering.

He stated that the Swedish charge d’affares and European Commission representative scolded Banda and his ministers on sector-specific policies and processes related to their development aid…Among corruption scandals mentioned in the cables include the Dora Siliya-Zamtel-RP Capital saga, single sourced government’s US $53 million mobile hospital deal with China, President Banda’s friendship with Chiluba and Regina, Henry Kapoko -Ministry of Health saga, former ministry of finance permanent secretary and current ambassador to Japan Wamundila Mbikusita Lewanika’s personal interest in a contracted public financial management project. Koplovsky wrote that on May 26, the executive director of the Economics Association of Zambia (EAZ) told embassy officials that these corruption incidents were “but the tip of the iceberg”…Read more.