I Was Too Smart for Them, Says Kalumba . . . Katele Used Charms to Elude Police.
January 16, 2003
The Post Newspaper
By: Sheikh Chifuwe
FORMER finance minister Katele Kalumba used charms and witchcraft to elude police on his three month long run, police spokesperson Brenda Muntemba said yesterday.
And Kalumba yesterday justified his hiding from police for the past three months claiming that President Levy Mwanawasa and his team were trying to kill him.
Kalumba, who arrived aboard a Y-12 military aircraft under armed police guard from Chiengi, Luapula Province where he had been hiding since October last year said he wanted to save his life before ‘giving up’ himself to the police.
Police spokesperson Brenda Muntemba disclosed that Kalumba emerged from a small shrub which was not thick enough to hide a human being a few kilometres from his farm in Chiyengi.
Muntemba said police officers found some charms on Kalumba’s waist and neck which they confiscated after he gave himself up .
Kalumba claimed police fired at him but did not injure him because he was “too smart” for them before he decided to give himself up.
He said now was the right time to hand over himself to the police because he wanted to ensure that he was alive.
“At least I am alive, then I would have been dead, they were trying to kill me,” Kalumba said.
He said he never travelled out of the country as earlier reported in the local media since the police started looking for him but was just in Chiyengi securing his life.
Muntemba said police had information that Kalumba had engaged some traditional wizards to protect him from prosecution using charms.
Muntemba said police managed to capture the ‘doctor’, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, who they also arrested earlier around 02:00 hours on Tuesday morning and led them to where Kalumba was hiding in a small shrub.
She said when the officers got to Kalumba’s farm they found two of his workers who led them to a wizard, headman Kaizela of Kaizela village.
Muntemba explained that headman Kaizela led the officers to where Kalumba was suspected to have been hiding but drew a blank because someone alerted him when they were approaching the place.
She said the following day the officers were led to a traditional doctor from Democratic Republic Congo, Lottie Chalwe Kafwimbi with his wife whom they convinced after a day to lead them to Kalumba’s hiding place.
“It took a lot of convincing for the medical man (Kafwimbi) to lead them where he was,” she said. “Then he led them to the tent which was supposed to be Dr. Kalumba’s tent, outside there was a burning fire.”
She said inside the tent there were only two wooden beds made of logs but without any beddings and that there was no sign of life in the surrounding areas other than the fire.
Muntemba disclosed that alongside the bed in the tent the officers found two guns – a seven loader revolver with 74 rounds of ammunition and a Greener shot gun with two bullets.
She said a traditional ‘computer’ – a wooden fetish resembling a human propelled by charms which Kalumba was using to check on his ‘enemies’ strategies and movements including personal documents were also found in the tent.
“He confirmed that he was able to see what was going on through this traditional computer,” she said. “What was happening in Lusaka in the office, he was able to narrate to the officers, he told them I saw you when you were planning to come and arrest me, I saw you when you were leaving from Lusaka.”
Other items found at Kalumba’s tent were a walking stick which had a silver sword inside when unscrewed, a laptop computer with a modem, solar panel and a satellite telephone.
Muntemba said Kalumba also had canned foodstuffs which included beef, fish, baked beans, bananas and six cases of mineral water.
She said after capturing Kalumba the officers removed charms from Kalumba’s waist and neck.
Mutemba said Kalumba told the officers that he saw them when they arrived in Chiyengi and when they went to his farm but they were unable to see him.
She said after the capture, Kalumba told the officers who picked him up in a vehicle that they would drive past a road check point ahead of them without those manning the place seeing him.
She said when they got to the check point, the officers manning the point only saw the officers in the vehicle and confirmed this by stating: “so even today you have been unsuccessful”, when Kalumba did not even hide.
“When they got to another point in Mununga he said here there will be trouble, if my people will see that you have got me there will be trouble,” she narrated. “He willingly hid himself until they passed the place.”
Muntemba also said it was not true that Kalumba or any of his workers were harassed because the officers were specialised and had specific instructions not to harm anyone.
Muntemba explained that although the police had information that Kalumba’s workers were armed, the police did not use any force to have access to the premises since they undertook the operation on January 5, this year.
And Task Force spokesperson Betty Mumba said Kalumba would be jointly charged with former cabinet ministers Godden Mandandi and Peter Machungwa and former clerk of the National Assembly Mwelwa Chibesakunda for the diversion of K2 billion from the National Assembly to 2001 MMD national convention.
Mumba said Kalumba would also be jointly charged with former Zambia Security Intelligence Services director general Xavier Chungu with the unbailable offence of theft of motor vehicles and motor bikes among other charges.
“He is also going to be charged with diversion of US $20.5 million which was supposed to have been used to buy military equipment and he is going to be charged with the diversion of K53 billion for the purchase of maize which instead went to Moses Katumbi,” Mumba said.
Katumbi is a businessman with links to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Drug Enforcement Commissioner Mukutulu Sinyani said Kalumba’s case would be delt with like any other of plunder of national resources in former president Frederick Chiluba’s government.
Sinyani said Kalumba was not a special person and that the Task Force was grateful he was finally brought in to answer charges.
“We will treat him in the normal manner that law enforcement will treat suspects,” he said. “We are grateful that this has happened and I pay special tribute to all the officers on the ground and I know that they will take it up professionally.”
Armed security officers disregarded senior officers’ instructions to allow Kalumba to talk to journalists at the airport and whisked him away to the Task Force where he was formally charged.
Sinyani said Kalumba would appear in court soon.
And acting home affairs minister Ludwig Sondashi yesterday dismissed as rubbish claims by Kalumba that President Mwanawasa wanted him dead.
Dismissing Kalumba’s claims of attempts on his life by President Levy Mwanawasa, Sondashi described the allegations as rubbish.
“Why can we eliminate him when the government wants him alive for questioning. We can’t kill him because we will not recover the money he had stolen, which is abroad,” Sondashi said. “There are even strong rumours that he is the one who tried to kill himself.”
He advised Kalumba to be strong enough and face the consequences like other people also charged with the plunder of national resources.
Sondashi said officers in the Task Force were careful in carrying out its work because they did not want to arrest wrong people.
Itezhi-Tezhi district administrator Godfrey Beene said the police should be cautious in dealing with people like Kalumba because they were sophisticated.
Beene said the police should not be excited over the capture of Kalumba because a lot more needed to be done to recover the money.
“There are more than 350,000 households in my district who depend on a hospital which is ill equipped because some people have stolen money,” he said. “People should understand why this money should come back, Kalumba should be told not to waste people’s time.”
He said the police in outlying areas like Itezhi-tezhi did not have any fuel allocation for many years to carry out their operations due to lack of resources.