Donors allege Zambia farming officials stole money

Finland, Sweden demand return of donations to farmers' union amid claims of corruption

Donors allege Zambia farming officials stole money

World Bulletin / News Desk

Sweden and Finland on Wednesday demanded the return of $34 million from the Zambia National Farmers' Union (ZNFU) amid allegations of misappropriation.

David Wiking, the deputy head of bilateral development cooperation at the Swedish embassy, said audits at the union had revealed money misused and stolen by senior ZNFU officials.

“The accounting report which the ZNFU produced when queried cannot be relied on because it is not supported by documentary evidence to support the claim and was marred with serious contradictions,” he told a news conference in Lusaka.

Speaking on behalf of both countries, Wiking added that auditors did not have full access to accounting material. “The only conclusion that was made… was that ZNFU has an information system which fails either by design or by accident,” he said.

Auditors KPMG Finland compiled a report following a February audit that suggested fraud within the union, the ZNFU said on its website.

According to Wiking, the Zambian government has been asked to take action against ZNFU board members accused of embezzlement.

“Our expectations are that this statement will move the security agents to act against the board members that stole the money meant for the farming fraternity in Zambia,” he said.

Moses Suwali, a spokesman for the Ministry of Home Affairs, said the Ministry was studying the Swedish and Finnish report on the matter.

“I wish to confirm that we are in receipt of a report from the two sister embassies that have alleged officials from the ZNFU embezzled donated funds,” he told Anadolu Agency. “The ministry through its agencies is studying the report and necessary action will be taken against erring officials.”

Goodwell Lungu, Transparency International’s Zambia executive director, called for more donors to reclaim misappropriated funds. He said it had “become a tradition for some organization not to account for donor funds”.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 08 Eylül 2016, 10:22