Former Zambian minister arrested over graft

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Former Minister of Community Development and Social Services Emerine Kabanshi

Zambian authorities arrested a former minister for alleged corruption that led Britain to suspend aid to the southern African country last year, an official said.

According to a statement from the Zambian anti-corruption and anti-money laundering agencies, Emerine Kabanshi was arrested “for abuse of authority of office.”

A local publication, Lusaka Times, wrote that Kabanshi, while serving as Minister of Community Development and Social Services, allegedly abused her authority of office by unduly influencing the engagement of Zambia Postal Services Corporation (ZAMPOST) as a payment service provider under the Social Cash Transfer Programme between January 1 and August 21, 2017.

This action was prejudicial to the interests of the Government of the Republic of Zambia and beneficiaries under the Social Cash Transfer Programme.

The publication goes on to state that during the same period she directed the extension of the Zambia Postal Services Corporation scope of works under the Social Cash Transfer Programme to include areas which were not covered in the initial contract.

According to the investigating team, having probable and justifiable cause to believe that the said contract was duly terminated by the Ministry, the former Minister allegedly did abuse her authority of office by directing the rescission of the termination of the contract between Zambia Postal Services Corporation (ZAMPOST) and the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services, an act prejudicial to the interests of the Government of Zambia.

Kabanshi was released on bail and will appear in court at a date yet to be fixed.

Britain froze aid payments to Zambia last September, highlighting concerns of alleged fraud and corruption by the government of President Edgar Lungu.

Britain’s development ministry said it earmarked $63.1 million in aid for Zambia in the 2017-18 fiscal year, but did not indicate how much was withheld over graft

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