The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) officer who is in charge of investigating Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya for corruption has dropped dead, literally.
Trevor Nyoni, the ACC Senior Investigations Officer collapsed last week and was recorded as ‘brought in dead’ at the hospital. He was buried last Friday.
On 21 February 2020, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) summoned minister Chilufya for interrogations in connection with allegations of being in possession of property suspected to be proceeds of crime.
ACC acting public relations manager Dorothy Mwanza announced the summoning of Dr Chilufya in a statement.
Trevor Nyoni was the officer leading the investigations and interrogations. Minister Chilufya was supposed to appear for the second round of interrogations and possibly to receive a warn and caution on the same day he was announcing the first confirmed cases of coronavirus in Zambia. That was the day he was sweating profusely.
Minister Chilufya is positioning himself to take over from Mr Edgar Lungu as president of Zambia.
The investigations of Minister Chilufya started just after the release of the last Financial Intelligence report which showed that a good number of ministers were involved in money laundering and other financial crimes.
Kapetwa Phiri, who was the Director General for the ACC then sought permission from State House to start arresting the ministers implicated in the Financial Intelligence report. Two days later he collapsed. He was evacuated to South Africa where he remained in a coma for some months. Back home, he was replaced as ACC director General.
How Minister Chitalu Chilufya stole $5m and lied to Parliament
On 11 November 2017, minister of health Chitalu Chilufya issued an official statement in parliament in which he said that the ministry and a local company called Savenda had signed a contract to supply 50 ambulances at a cost of US$11.5 million. Minister Chilufya said this after an MP queried him on why he was about to purchase 50 ambulances at an exorbitant price of $288, 000 each.
Minister Chilufya justified the price saying these will be ‘fifty purpose-built Mercedes Benz high-roofed ambulances mounted with modernised emergency and mobile medical equipment at the unit price of US$143,110, bringing the total price to US$7,155,500; plus five years service and provision of service parts for ambulances, inclusive of both mobile platform and the medical equipment at US$3,649,305; and training of twenty mechanics, fifty drivers and 100 medical staff at a cost of US$715,550.
‘Sir, the procurement process may not be halted at this stage, as the contract was entered into in 2015 and the Government has made payments towards this procurement. An initial 10 per cent was made in 2015 and was followed by a further 15 per cent of the cost in 2016. Subsequent payments will be made as resources are made available.
Even as he was reading this statement in Parliament, he knew very well that this contract to supply purpose built Benz ambulances by Savenda had been shelved by himself and his girlfriend Mulalelo Kakulubelwa (Kaku) who was at this time time director of Infrastructure at the same ministry. She is now the permanent Secretary.
Instead of paying for these ambulances which were approved by the security, ZPPA and technocrats, Minister Chilufya and Kaku approached and illegally paid Iveco South Africa to supply 50 ambulances. We understand that on paper, Iveco was paid this $11.5 million but supplied poor quality ambulances whose actual unit value is less that $30, 000. The balance, more than $5 million was shared by minister Chilufya, his love Kaku and named official at Iveco. But to parliament, the ministry and people of Zambia, Chilufya maintained the lie that he procured purpose-built Benz ambulances.
We challenge minister Chilufya to produce receipts of the payments he made to purchase purpose built vehicles. Lying to Parliament is a criminal offence.
Minister Chilufya should tell the country who approved the Iveco ambulances since he told Parliament that the suppler of Benz Ambulances won the competitive tender and it could not be reversed? What happened to the contract to supply Benz ambulances since, as he told Parliament, 25 per cent was already paid to the supplier of the Benz ambulances. Won’t the supplier of Benz ambulances who won the international, competitive tender seek compensation for breach of contract?
We are also aware that the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and other law enforcement agencies carried out a full investigation on this and investigators recommended for Chilufya and Kaku’s arrest. But Minister Chilufya has so far managed to keep the ACC from arresting him. We know what is contained in that investigatory report.
Ministry sources tell us that it’s just a matter of time before this financial scandal explodes and they fear that they will be sacrificed, others tell us that they are ready to testify.