Zambia’s new president has told that he has inherited an ‘empty’ treasury while ‘horrifying’ amounts of money had been stolen.
President Hakainde Hilchilema stated, “People are still trying to make last-minute movements of funds ,which are unauthorised, which are not theirs.” He defeated his rival Edgar Lungu in presidential elections last month. Mr Hilchilema did not name any officials and Mr Lungu has previously denied all wrongdoing.
Mr Lungu governed the copper-rich nation since 2015. He was widely praised for the smooth transition of power to Mr Hilchilema who won the presidency after five failed attempts. Mr Hilchilema won the elections on the promise to tackle corruption and to end financial and economic crisis that has seen Zambia’s debt ballooning. For the first time since 1998, Zambia plunged into a recession last year. It then defaulted on a debt repayment.
During an interview, the new president described the treasury as ‘literally empty’. He also added that the ‘hole is much bigger than we expected’ and the dent situation had not been ‘fully disclosed’ by the former government. He stated, “There’s a lot of damage, unfortunately.”