PHOTO| AFP Zambia’s new President Michael Sata (right) reacts as he is congratulated by former President Rupiah Banda during his swearing-in ceremony at the Supreme  Court in Lusaka, on September 23, 2011.

PHOTO| AFP Zambia’s new President Michael Sata (right) reacts as he is congratulated by former President Rupiah Banda during his swearing-in ceremony at the Supreme Court in Lusaka, on September 23, 2011.

By ELIAS MBAO DAILY NATION Correspondent
Posted  Monday, October 3  2011 at  20:27

Zambia’s President Michael Sata today reversed the previous Government’s sale of a privately-owned bank to South Africa’s FirstRand, dissolved several parastatal boards and revealed that the nation, including State House, was “stinking with corruption”.

Speaking at State House after he swore in permanent secretaries and other senior Government officials, Mr Sata, who was elected two weeks ago, cancelled the Rupiah Banda-administration’s sale of Zambian-owned Finance Bank to South Africa’s FirstRand for $5.4 million.

“I have been doing a search [on] the so-called sale of Finance Bank, there isn’t even any document for sale. Therefore, I am instructing the Ministry of Finance to take the bank back to the owners of the bank, immediately,” President Sata said in a verbal decree.

The Banda-administration sold Finance Bank mid last month despite public disapproval. Mr Sata had promised during campaign that he would reserve the sale.

President Sata also dissolved, with immediate effect, the boards of the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA), state-run power utility – Zesco, the National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA).

Before his election, he had accused the three institutions of graft.

The President also said he had retired the former managing Director of Zesco, Mr Ernest Mupwaya in the public interest  and reinstated Mr Cyprian Chitundu who was previously the Managing Director but was ‘‘dismissed unfairly.”

The President also sacked Banda-appointed police chief, Francis Kabonde, and replaced him with Dr Martin Malama.

“The police have to help us sweep; there is so much dirty including this office where I am, there is so much corruption. So much corruption that this country stinks and that is why people cannot get what they want,” said President Sata, 74.

“Zambia is so dirty, even my own office, some of the people who are supposed to be guarding me they even benefited from corruption,” he said.

He vowed to fight corruption.

“I don’t need any corrupt money for my campaign or for my re-election or PF re-election,” said President Sata, adding that he wants his Government to serve Zambians not him as an individual.

The Zambian leader dismissed all 72 district commissioners that were appointed by the previous Government, saying they were politicians, and ordered them to immediately vacate their offices and houses.

We cannot have civil service positions given to political parties, he said. “I have therefore fired all the district commissioners and appointed civil servants to take over from them,” said President Sata.

He also abolished several Government positions.

The new leader called for mass investment in road construction countrywide.