Information has emerged of how Defence Permanent Secretary Stardy Mwale made a US$2 million one off payment to purchase a farm from a white farmer in Mazabuka’s Chikankata area.
But Mr Mwale says he managed to buy the farm using his personal resources because he is a rich man.
Highly placed sources at Ministry of Defence Headquarters have exclusively revealed that Mr Mwale early this year paid US$2 million cash to Mike Arnold, a White Australian farmer to buy part of his vast Simoonga Farm, about 10 KMs from the Mazabuka road to Chikankata mission.
The sources further revealed that the other half of the farm was purchased by millionaire businessman and owner of Inyatsi Construction Ltd Michelo Shakantu.
The sources also revealed that Mr Arnold was astounded that Mr Mwale who bought the bigger portion of the farm paid cash up front.
“The White Farmer has even relocated back to Australia. Before leaving, he kept telling people in and around Chikankata that the transaction was a jackpot for him and he couldn’t believe that a Zambian paid him that much money for a piece of land,” the sources revealed.
“When selling, the farm was split into two. So Shakantu purchased the farm house and other pieces of farm equipment while Mr Mwale got the bigger chunk of the farm land comprising Maize and Cotton fields, as we speak, Mr Mwale and Shakantu are now neighbors.”
And a senior Lusaka lawyer whose law firm provided transaction services over the deal whose identify has been withheld confirmed that Mr Mwale paid cash for the transaction.
“I was also shocked that my client went ahead to settle the purchase amount all in cash. US$ 2million dollars is not a small amount,” the lawyer said.
Meanwhile, the sources have also revealed how Mr Mwale has orchestrated unceremonious transfers of key officials from Ministry of Defence Headquarters in Lusaka to mostly remote areas.
“The last few months, the P.S has been singing off letters sending key staff from procurement and finance to rural areas. It appears he now wants to destroy all the evidence of massive corruption that has taken place since he became P.S,” the source said.
The sources said most officers at Defence Headquarters are living in fear as Mr Mwale is harassing and threatening those that appear to disregard some of his directives.
“For now, all procurements and all payments of suppliers has to be sanctioned by him. No body gets paid unless Stardy knows the supplier. If you appear to be challenging the status quo, he will write you a letter of transfer.”
The sources have since appealed to President Edgar Lungu to take an interest in the happenings the Ministry of Defence.
“There is no way a civil servant, a controlling officer can be moving around with US$ 2 million dollars purchasing farms. This goes to show that he has more money stacked somewhere. But the question is, where did he get all that type of money?”
The source added, “ most local people in Chikankata know that a prominent figure in government bought part of the farm but what they do not know is the details of transaction and who this prominent figure is.”
“You know there is road construction taking place on the Kafue-Mazabuka road but what is interesting is why the project did not involve the entire road from Kafue Turn Park to Monze where it connects to a better Livingstone road. However, the short stretch being done leads to Simoonga Farm which is now owned by Mr Mwale and Mr Shakantu.
The sources have since challenged Mr Mwale to deny the allegations saying they have all the evidence to prove the allegation.
“We challenge him to deny this. We are not doing this with malicious intent. We just want Zambians to know that there are some government officials who are moving around with that kind of money.”
“As we speak, Mr Mwale has started stocking his newly acquired farm with animals. He recently bought lots of cattle from Namwala.
When reached for a comment, Mr Mwale confirmed that he bought the farm from Mr Arnold but disputed the purchase amount.
“Yes I can confirm that I bought Simoonga Farms but not at US$2 million dollars. Nobody can pay all that money for such a dead farm. I can take you there and you see for yourself, it’s a dead farm,” Mr Mwale said on phone.
Pressed further on the purchase price, Mr Mwale said he could reveal the actual price but that it could be “around K600,000 or maybe K1 million or just under K1 million.”
He claimed that he was a very rich man who can buy any farm anywhere.
“If you know me very well, you will know that I am very rich. Infact I used to make more money before I joined government. I bought a brand new Mercedez Benz E-Class from Southern Cross, you can go there and check for yourself,” Mr Mwale claimed.
“When I was in Masaiti, I was one of the biggest farmers there. I had more than 1,000 cattle at my farm. I run Riso Zambia, one of the biggest office equipment suppliers in Zambia. I supply the Ministry of Education, Health and I also deal with the National Assembly. I am a very successful businessman and used to make a lot more money when I was outside government.”
Mr Mwale also charged that the scandals involving his businesses are the work of his enemies.
“These people are just malicious. They started with the Clinic, we are now sorting the issue of the clinic and they bring in Simoonga. It looks like these people just want to finish me off,” Mr Mwale protested.