Britain freezes aid to Zambia over corruption

Tuesday September 18 2018

Zambia's President Edgar Lungu. FILE | NATION

Zambia's President Edgar Lungu. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

MICHAEL CHAWE
By MICHAEL CHAWE
More by this Author

Britain has suspended all bilateral funding to Zambia over corruption concerns, an envoy said.

The British High Commissioner to Zambia, Mr Fergus Cochrane-Dyet, posted on tweeter that: "Correct that UK frozen all bilateral funding to Zambian government in light of potential concerns until audit results known."

"UK Aid takes zero-tolerance approach to fraud and corruption," he added

The graft concerns have been published by a London-based Journal Africa Confidential.

Cash transfer

The report says Finland, Sweden, Ireland and Unicef too had frozen funding, while and Department for International Development (DfID) had privately asked for $4 million to be returned.

Advertisement

The action by DfID, which supports a social cash transfer scheme has, however, been downplayed by the Zambian government.

Government spokesperson Dora Siliya said: "Relations with all donors was OK as far as government was concerned."

Britain, the former colonial power, is historically Zambia's biggest donor.

Were rarely jailed

President Edgar Lungu recently asked for an increase of the household beneficiaries of the British aid from 257,000 to 780,000, because the programme was deemed a success.

The southern African nation was currently grappling with the ever increasing debt, mostly from the Chinese.

The current regime was largely viewed as having a soft approach to graft, with many doubting if any high ranking officials could be successfully prosecuted for corruption.

Senior government officials were rarely jailed for criminal offences.

Community Development minister Emerine Kabanshi, who is in charge of the social cash transfer scheme and the postmaster general were yet to comment about the matter publicly.

Advertisement