Ndhlovu: Let it be known that I oppose Muntembo’s appointment as DPP

Ndhlovu: Let it be known that I oppose Muntembo’s appointment as DPP

This is a copy of a letter sent  to the Parliamentary Select Committee on the appointment of the DPP.

ALFRED A. K. NDHLOVU                                    

Muntembo Nchito

LUSAKA

December 06, 2011

  1. Hon. Mulusa MP (MMD) Chairman
  2. Hon. Levy Ngoma MP (MMD)
  3. Hon. Lackson Kazabu MP (PF)
  4. Hon. Vitalis Moya MP (UPND)
  5. Hon. Cornelius Mweetwa MP (UPND)

Parliament Buildings

Manda Hill, off Great East Road

LUSAKA

Dear Sirs,

OBJECTION AGAINST RATIFICATION OF MR. MUTEMBO NCHITO’S APPOINTMENT AS DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTION

  1. I write to place on record my serious and strong objection to the ratification of Mr. Mutembo Nchito as Director of Public Prosecution.
  2. I strongly object to this appointment as it contradicts public policy in relation to the character and quality of individuals that should serve in this very high constitutional office that determines the integrity of the criminal prosecution system of the country.
  3. You are undoubtedly aware that Mr. Nchito was Chief Executive Officer of the defunct Zambian Airways which is undergoing both civil and criminal investigations with specific reference to huge debts owed to, among other institutions, National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA), Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA), National Airports Corporation (NAC) and several banks, namely Finance Bank, Development Bank of Zambia, Investrust Bank and Bravo Capital.
  4. The specific allegations of financial impropriety by Mr. Mutembo Nchito as CEO of the defunct Zambian Airways are truly a matter of public record. They have been in the public domain long enough for you to recall easily.
  5. Mr. Chairman, Sir, Zambian Airways (in liquidation) owes a total of US $12 million (about ZMK 60 billion) to public and private financial houses mentioned in item 3 above. The matter is under investigation for civil and criminal liability. Given this track record, therefore, it would be imprudent to appoint a former CEO who drove an airline into the ground and who was and still is under investigation. The position of DPP is one that requires a person of high integrity, rectitude and reasonably unblemished conduct which Mr. Nchito currently lacks.
  6. Banks are owed as follows:

(i)                 Trade Creditor US $ 4.5 million

(ii)               Finance Bank US $ 4 million

(iii)             Intermakert Bank US $ 1.5 million

(iv)              Bravo Capital US $ 1 million

(v)                Investrust  Bank US $ 1 million

  1. As the Select Committee will be aware, the Drug Enforcement Commission recorded “warn and caution “ statements from the defunct Zambian Airways directors, namely, Messrs Mutembo Nchito, Nchima Nchito and Fred M’membe, who is The Post newspaper managing editor.
  2.  Just recently, Finance Bank instructed SNB Legal Practitioners to recover US $ 4,208,928 from Mine Air Services Ltd, trading as Zambian Airways and its directors over a debt it had guaranteed. The debt was guaranteed by The Post newspaper, JCN Holdings, under the signature of Messrs Fred M’membe, Mutembo Nchito and Nchima Nchito.
  3. 9.      In further elaboration of my objection, this Select Committee needs to note the following:

(i)                 Auditor-General’s 2005 Report– the report indicated that between 2002 and 2005, the Task Force on Corruption paid the Nchito brothers US $239,020 without appropriate approval on a contract that was not sanctioned. She ordered further forensic study of the payments.

(ii)               Roan Air owing GRZ– Roan Air, the precursor to Zambian Airways, owes GRZ billions of Kwacha through the use of the presidential Challenger aircraft by Mr. Mutembo Nchito without authority from the Zambia State Security Intelligence office. This matter has not been finalized!

(iii)             Shares in Roan Air/Zambian Airways-  controversy surrounds the manner in which Mr. Mutembo Nchito and his brother, Mr. Nchima Nchito, obtained shares from the six original shareholders of the Airline. There are claims substantiated by Capt. Mulangala whose matter was before the courts of law that underhand methods were used to deprive him of his shares and therefore sought court determination.

(iv)             Zambian Airways debt to DBZ- Zambian Airways owes more than US $ 4 million to the Development Bank of Zambia.

(v)                Professional Insurance Corporation of Zambia debt- the company was owed about ZMK 754 million and ZMK 135,916 in unpaid premiums for risks covered. In this regard, the Lusaka High Court added an attachment of all identifiable assets of Zambian Airways.

(vi)              Debt owed to Nation Airports Corporation Ltd- the Airline to date owed US $ 1,020,078 (about ZMK 5.6 billion) in passenger service charges collected by the Airline on behalf of NAC Ltd at Lusaka, Livingston, Mfuwe and Ndola airports. This included aero-plane parking, ground handling, air navigation and aeronautical services provided by NAC Ltd to the Airline as at October 31, 2008. This matter went to court and Justice Nyambe ordered the Airline to pay this amount an additional ZMK 31,635,120 in office rentals, water and electricity charges that arose and accumulated through the Airline’s operations at the airports.

(vii)            Zambian Airways in Receivership- Zambian Airways in receivership owes three banks a total of US $ 5.9 million (or ZMK 28 billion).

(viii)          Liability to employees- the defunct Airline also owes its former employees ZMK 3.4 billion in salary arrears.

(ix)              Zambia Revenue Authority- the Zambian Airways directors also failed to remit taxes to ZRA resulting in a debt of US $ 2million.

  1.  The other areas of impropriety include Mr. M. Nchito’s conduct in relation to clients, namely, Mr. Moses Katumbi, which matter was before the High Court and also former special assistant to the president, Mr. Richard Sakala, whose case of appeal and civil petitions is before the Lusaka High Court. In both cases, the complainants have charged that Mr. M. Nchito abused his position as Legal Counsel, public prosecutor and indeed legal representative for the Task Force on Corruption in the exercise of his duties and responsibilities. The two criminal cases under references HPA/16/2004 and civil under 2010/HP/984 are yet to be decided by the Lusaka High Court.
  2.  The Law Association of Zambia is also seized with complaints against Mr. M. Nchito. It is, therefore, untenable to have someone DPP whose conduct suggests criminal culpability to serve in that esteemed office.
  3.   Unless and until these matters in the High Court are concluded, GRZ will suffer terrible embarrassment and illegality to proceed with this appointment, which will invariably compromise investigations while nullifying court proceedings that are yet to be concluded. This will translate into contempt of court!
  4. 13.   Zambia has produced many lawyers to choose from given vacancies at all and many levels in the country including that of DPP. In fact, lawyers working in Government are ideally qualified and suitable for the position of DPP. to ratify the appointment of Mr. Mutembo Nchito.
  5.  With the foregoing explanation, I urge this august Select Committee not to ratify the strange and unusual appointment of Mr. Mutembo Nchito as DPP.

Yours faithfully,

Alfred A. K. Ndhlovu

Former Member of Parliament     

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