MMD aspiring presidential candidate Nevers Mumba solicited and received more than half a billion Kwacha (US$122,000) from the largest gold digger in the world, Barrick Gold, purporting to fund a Zambian cultural week as High Commissioner to Canada, the government controlled and owned Zambia Dail Mail says it can reveal.
However, investigations have revealed that the fire and brimstone preacher could have used the money given to the embassy for purposes other than what the money was meant for.
In a phone interview yesterday, the pastor admitted knowledge of the money but denied any sinister action, saying everything was done above board contrary to documentation in possession of the Daily Mail which places him in a questionable spot.
“I am aware about the money from Barrick Gold but it went to the hosting of Amayenge by the Zambian Canada Cultural Exchange,” Dr. Mumba said without elaborating further.
Investigations, however, show that Dr Mumba could have flouted regulations when he used official Zambian High Commission paper to solicit for the funds including the process he used to open the account for the Barrick Gold donation.
Documentation shows that:
• Dr Mumba opened an account that could not be subjected to a government audit at Toronto’s Domion Bank.
• The account was not declared to the High Commission.
• The opening of the account was not sanctioned by the Zambian government and only one high commission staff member was given the “restricted” role of coordinating and raising payment vouchers subsequently signed by Pastor Mumba
• Questions abound also on how three members of the cultural exchange group were ‘hand-picked’ to be co signatories with Pastor Mumba or why the tender committee at the high commission was left out of the entire sourcing of the funds and the event thereafter. Instead a lady named Edith Dehearne of Oxy gene was hired and paid US$10,000 or K50 million for a service she did not deliver.
According to Government regulations, any monies obtained using the mission abroad needed approval from the permanent secretary, which was not the case in this instance, therefore, further raising questions on Dr Mumba’s dealings.
Further investigations show that Dr Mumba has not presented an account activity report officially to Nedson Nzowa, who has assumed the position of the deputy commissioner in Canada, to detail how the Barrick Gold money was used.
Mr Nathan Chishimba, the Barrick Gold Lumwana Mining Company (LMC) corporate affairs manager, last evening told the Mail he was aware that his company – from the Toronto office – had assisted in the mission cultural event with money but lacked “further details.”
The jury is still out on whether there was any wrong- doing in the manner Dr Mumba handled matters at the mission but so far he stands accused of “impropriety” by President Sata who has embarked on an anti-graft fight he says shall spare no-one.
The President has said no amount of “witch-hunt” or “retribution” accusations from those within and without the ruling PF shall slow him because corruption promotes poverty and erodes governance.
The pastor, who has since handed back his diplomatic passport, has pleaded innocence and says he cannot abuse public funds as a man who fears God but investigations continue.