IMF, UK, others suspended aid to Zambia over “misappropriation” of fund

This follows allegations of corruption in President Edgar Lungu’s administration.

The UK froze aid to Zambia after the Zambian government admitted that $4.3 million for poor families had disappeared.

An investigation ordered by Zambian President Edgar Lungu had revealed the “misappropriation” of $4.3 million, spokesman Amos Chanda told the BBC.

The money had disappeared from the social cash transfer program; a program that directly allocates money to the poorest, confirmed Mr. Chanda.

The government pledged to take action but was still waiting for the final results of its four-month audit, Chanda said.

The UK is adopting a “zero tolerance approach to fraud and corruption,” the UK Department for International Development (DfID) said in a statement.

More than 50 percent of Zambia’s 17 million people live below the poverty line, says the World Bank.

The United Kingdom’s freeze on its assistance primarily affects the education, health and nutrition sectors, as well as cash transfers for the poorest Zambians.

Ireland, Finland and Sweden have also suspended their aid.

This aid freeze comes as Zambia’s debt level is under increased scrutiny.

The International Monetary Fund has said it has suspended its lending to the country, fearing that its debt is not sustainable.

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