Zambia like many other African Countries is undergoing a complex process of economic and political reforms which pose a deep challenge to the country’s systems and resources. An analysis of the Country’s efforts to promote governance reform take cognizance of this challenge. These reform programmes have the potential to establish effective systems to prevent, detect and sanction corruption over a period of time.
The background of the Anti-Corruption Commission lies in these efforts to fight this scourge. Established in 1982 the Commission is mandated to spearhead a broad Anti-Corruption Mandate of investigation, prosecution, prevention and public education. This mandate anchors the Commissions core functions of enforcement, prevention, education which are a pillar of its existence.
From a small institution in 1982 with offices in Lusaka the Commission has now offices spread in the eight (8) provinces namely, Kitwe, Livingstone, Chipata, Kasama, Mongu, Mansa, Solwezi and Kabwe.
The Commission has since its establishment in 1982 made progress in meeting its mandate. The legal provisions that outlawed corruption in independent Zambia were first contained in the penal code, CAP 146, Chapter X of the laws of Zambia. This legislation was exclusively concerned with corruption offences by persons employed in the public sector but did not take offence with corruption transactions by or with private bodies or agents.
It was therefore inadequate in as far as fighting corruption is concerned. The Zambia Police which was charged with the duty of enforcement was also not able to adequately deal with corruption offences. In 1980, a bill in parliament was passed that culminated into the establishment of the Anti-Corruption Commission that was going to exclusively deal with corruption cases.
The provisions of the Penal Code relating to Corrupt Practices were therefore repealed by the new Act which was called the ‘Corrupt Practices Act No. 14 of 1980.’ The operations of the Anti Corruption Commission only commenced in 1982 after the necessary preparations were done. Under the Corrupt Practices Act No.14 of 1980, the institution was entirely a Government Department.
In 1996, the Corrupt Practices Act No. 14 was repealed and replaced by the Anti-Corruption Commission Act No.42 of 1996. This new Act provided for the establishment of the ACC as an autonomous body in terms of executing its operational duties. However, the Commission still had to consult Government (Cabinet Office) on policy matters such as recruitment, implementation of conditions of service and others that have financial implications.
In 2010 the Anti-Corruption Act No 38 of 2010 was enacted. However In a bid to further strengthen the law and domesticate a number of provisions from the UN Convention Against Corruption, the SADC Protocol on Combating Corruption and the African Union Convention on corruption, a new law the Anti-Corruption Act No 3 of 2012 was enacted. This is the law under which the Commission currently operates.