How Stanbic raised money to bribe judges

How Stanbic raised money to bribe judges

*Magistrate Fides Hamundu’s account used to receive money from Eric Silwamba’s wife based in UK.

On June 23, 2018, we explained that Stambic Zambia ltd started the dirty scheme to bribe judges at the Court of Appeal level. 

Now details have begun to emerge on how Stanbic diverted money from musical concerts and inflated lawyers’ fees to raise bribery fees.

In this case, Savenda v Stanbic, the High Court ordered Stanbic to compensate Savenda K192m for loss of contracts after Stanbic negligently and maliciously reported Savenda to the credit Reference Bureau. But the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court trashed the High court Judgement and instead ordered Savenda to pay costs from the time the case started, generating public outcry and suspicion that the senior Courts have been bribed. The bill which Bank lawyer Eric Silwamba wants Savenda to pay the Bank is K10 million.

Named Supreme court judges are believed to have received US192, 000 each (K1.9 Million). The figures given to Court of Appeal Judges have not yet been established but will very soon. 

Bank insiders have disclosed that the bank obviously could not record in their books that the money was for ‘bribes expenses’ and could not wire the dirty money to judges’ accounts. The bank therefore had to find a way to raise the money.

One of the methods Stanbic used was to inflate the bill for the 2017 Stanbic Music festival. Every year, Stanbic organises a music festival where they import some American musicians who were popular in the 1990s. This year, they are bringing some other old madalas called Brian McKnight and Joe Thomas.

In the 2017 music festival, Stanbic imported Boyz ii Men and hired some local artistes to warm the stage. The local artistes were as usual paid peanuts and change from the Americans.

 Stanbic insiders say that the actual cost spent on this musical project was about $500,000 but the bill was inflated with about $1,500,000. The difference went to bribe Court of Appeal and Supreme Court judges.  

Interestingly, the Musical festival was held on 22 September 2017. The Court of Appeal made its judgment to trash the High Court judgment four weeks later on 22 October 2017.  Standard Bank of South Africa, the head office, should consider conducting an forensic audit on these music festivals.

The other way Stanbic bank raised money to bribe judges was to inflate fees for their lawyers. Remember we have already explained that Supreme Court judges were paid through Eric Silwamba’s law firm. The other law firm used is linked to Court of Appeal judge Flavia Chishimba.

According to people close to the case, during this period up to the time the Supreme Court issued its judgment, retainer fees for bank lawyers increased beyond normal fees and the difference went to pay judges. 

According to bank and intelligence sources, huge suspicious payments were made by Stanbic to a law firm owned by judge Flavia Chisamba and her husband when the case was active. It is believed that bribes for Court of Appeal Judges were channelled through Fraser Chishimba and associates as there is no corresponding service to back the transfers. The law firm was not part of the lawyers In the case but the wife was one of the judges.

In its 2017 report, The Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) said legal firms are increasingly being used as vehicles for Money Laundering.

‘Most criminal elements have resorted to using these professionals to mask the source of funds and aid its movement to local and foreign destinations for reinvestment or use. In the cases analysed by the FIC during 2017, approximately ZMW 50 million ($10million) illicit funds were channeled through lawyers’ accounts.

And the Watchdog has been informed that Magistrate Fides Hamundu, the wife of Supreme Court Judge Evans Hamaundu’s bank account has been used to receive dirty money from Eric Silwamba. Magistrate Fides Hamaundu is one of the witnesses in the case where the Supreme Court has charged Bishop John Mambo  and Gregory Chifire with contempt of court.

But informed sources have revealed that Eric Silwamba’s wife, who is based in the United Kingdom, wired money to magistrate Fides Hamaundu’s account in Zambia at the height of the bribery.

We know this case is under investigation, so we shall not say more, for now.

In the photos, one of the lawyers working with Silwamba, Lubinda Linyama posing with a Benz he bought for $50, 000  just after the Supreme Court ruling.

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