What you need to know:
- Mr Ezra Chiloba allegedly applied for and approved his own inflated mortgage loan.
- There are claims that Mr Chiloba was both the buyer and the seller in the transaction.
The suspension by the board of Communications Authority (CA) Director-General Ezra Chiloba over serious allegations on his conduct is an intriguing story. This is a fairly senior official who heads a key government agency. This is a conflict of interest case that raises the issue of just how much control holders of such offices should have to determine their own benefits.
Mr Chiloba allegedly applied for and approved his own inflated mortgage loan. But even more shocking is the claim that he was both the buyer and the seller in the transaction in which the CA paid a tidy sum of Sh25 million. The company that sold the property to the agency is said to belong to him.
Now, these are serious allegations. However, at this point, Mr Chiloba has not been proven guilty of any wrongdoing.
The DG, who was suspended on Monday, is also accused of gross misconduct and breach of the code of ethics. At the core of this is the possible loss of public funds that might have been diverted to personal use.
This case is not unique. Reports by the Auditor-General routinely expose mismanagement and outright looting of public resources by officials mandated to run government agencies for the people’s benefit. It is a shame that most of these reports gather dust on the shelves as the culprits go scot-free.
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Authority (EACC) has also stepped up its numerous investigations into these public sector shenanigans and, hopefully, those involved in such crimes will be held accountable.
The accusations against Mr Chiloba are grave and should be speedily and conclusively dealt with. If it is, indeed, true that the suspended CA chief was involved in fraud and a breach of ethics, he and any other beneficiaries of the criminal acts must be severely punished to serve as a deterrent. For now, he is just a suspect and his rights must be protected.