RB arrives at DEC to answer charges of acquiring lollipops, baloons

RB arrives at DEC to answer charges of acquiring lollipops, baloons

Former president Rupiah Banda has arrived at the PF Government Joint Investigation Team to answer charges of corruption allegations levelled against him by Fred Mmembe, Mutembo Nchito, and Wynter Kabimba.

Mr. Banda arrived accompanied by his lawyers Sakwiba Sikota, Prof. Patrick Mvunga and others amid a heavily armed police presence at the DEC offices and the area around Ridgeway Post office making it difficult for some workers around the area to report for work peacefully.

There are also scores of people and supporters, mainly opposition leaders and civil rights activists at the DEC officers giving solidarity to the former Head of State.

Mr. Banda was summoned by the Mmembe curtail to appear for questioning this morning at the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) offices regarding among others, the sources of MMD 2011 campaign materials such as lollipops, baloons, chitenges, etc, as itemised by Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba last Friday.

Last Friday, Parliament debated and considered a motion that removed Mr. Banda’s presidential immunity against prosecution.

In a clear case of serious divisions within the PF camp over the issue, Finance Minister who is also president Michael Sata’s uncle Alexander Chikwanda and Gender Minister Inonge Wina both allegedly absconded from being swayed by the wind to vote in favour of the motion.

Sources said Mr. Chikwanda is actually very opposed to the Fred Mmembe and his clique’s schemes of running a powerful government outside the elected recognised PF government.

Mr. Chikwanda has also been opposed to the perceived persecution of former presidents, and the issue of Mr. Banda is even too close for him because they are close family friends from way back.

It is so far not clear what arguments Mr. Banda’s lawyers will advance for his failure to appear before the curtail holding president Sata hostage.

The Zambian law does not compel political parties to disclose the sources of their campaign funds.

In the previous elections, the PF were heavily financed by the Taiwanese government that wanted recognition against mainland China.

Mr. Sata himself was once caught with US$ 27,000 cash at the South Africa Airport which was confiscated and to date it has not been claimed or fully explained where he got it.

Allegations as presented to parliament by Wynter Kabimba are that Mr Banda abused his authority, corruptly acquired public property and misapplied money and revenue in respect of a crude oil contract with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation amounting to US$2.5 million.
Other allegations are:
*Importation and customs clearances of MMD campaign material and disbursement of money to all MMD candidates involving K12,907,847,170.
*Mpundu Trust Property Development headed by former First Lady Thandiwe Banda and a Nyiombo Investments-procured loan of US$1 million.
*Use of Mauritius-registered offshore companies to finance opaque transactions, including acquisition of a bus worth US$200,000 with funds from Carisma Investments in Mauritius and branded bulbs worth US$60,000, also financed by Carisma.
*Importation of trucks from the United States worth 100,000 pounds (about K800,000,000); importation of shoes worth US$300,000 (K1,500,000,000) and purchase of bicycle spares and accessories from India at K371,908,000.
*Purchase of 42 Toyota Hilux vehicles from the United Arab Emirates at K1,869,840,000 and  purchase of 40 used Bedford trucks from United Kingdom at K686,501,629.
*Branded lollipops (K28,648, 486), T-shirts (411,917,893), caps (K21,884,175), badges (131,823,695), hats (14,500,380), balloons (K9,227,385), hand flags K12, 727,088) and flags K10, 695,047).
*Purchase of 77 various makes of used light trucks from Japan’s Trust Company at K1,246,166,872 and purchase of 2,407 bales of printed fabric from Malawi’s Goodson Ginford Bonongwe at K68,770,938 are also among the allegations.
*Purchase of T-shirts (K29,403,197, badges K25,347,556), hats K2,788,209), balloons (K1,774,263) and various types of vehicles (K1,066,879,353) from South Africa’s Tokyo Cars Choudhry and Amalgamated.
The total amount spent on branded goods and other items is said to be K10,107,847,170.



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