By GIDEON NYENDWA
A CONSORTIUM of opposition political parties has given a seven-day ultimatum to Finance and Nationa Planning Minister Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane to explain who had awarded and signed a contract to hire private firms, Grant Thornton and Price Water and Coopers to audit the country’s defence and security wings or face litigation.
Speaking at a joint media briefing, Wynter Kabimba, the Economic Front (EF) party president said he would today write the courts of law to compel Government to explain the details of the contract awarded to the two private firms to audit the Zambia Army, Zambia Air Force (ZAF) and the Zambia National Service (ZNS).
The joint media briefing was attended by among other opposition political party leaders Harry Kalaba, president of the Citizens First, Saboi Imboela of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Sean Tembo, leader of the Patriots for Economic Progress (PeP), Jackson Silavwe of the Golden Party and Raphael Nakachinda, member of the central committee of the Patriotic Front (PF).
Mr Kabimba alleged that President Hakainde Hichilema as a former Partner of Grant Thornton had vested interest in the firm and should therefore disassociate himself from the company.
Government has hired Grant Thornton and Price Water Coppers House to audit the books of accounts for Zambia’s Defence and Security Wings, a contract the Office of the Auditor General did not sanction and did not sign.
Mr Kabimba said he would write a letter to court demanding an order for government to explain the details of the contract awarded to the private audit firms.
Mr Kabimba said President Hichilema was on record in 2016 as having announced that he had only taken leave from Grant Thornton because as a partner and should have declared interest and stopped the Ministry of Finance from engaging the company.
And Patriots for Economic Process (PEP) president Sean Tembo said the new dawn administration had shown that it was not interested in empowering its citizens but only giving businesses to foreign entities when there were many Zambians capable of doing the same jobs.
Meanwhile, Saboi Imboela, the leader of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) said the opposition political party leaders shall continue talking against the ills being committed by the UPND administration against citizens.
Ms Imboela said President Hichilema should not embark on a crusade of arresting opposition political party leaders and incarcerating them on account that the Head of State had spent 127 days in jail.
“We know that President Hichilema spent 127 days in prison but that does not mean that he should embark on a crusade to arrest and detain citizens on cases that don’t exist. Let the President know that we shall not stop talking whatever the consequences because Zambians need our voices more than ever before,” Ms Mboela said.