19 July 2012

Mauritius: 'Ex-Polls Chief Received $90,000 From Mauritius'

A LUSAKA Magistrate's Court yesterday heard that former Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) deputy director of information technology, Mpundu Mfula received US$90,000 through a Mauritian firm for the supply of election materials and desks among other items.

This is in a matter in which Mfula is charged with corrupt practices involving $90,000.

Mr Mfula, 54, of Kabangwe area in Lusaka is charged with one count of corrupt practices by public officer contrary to section 29(1) and section 41 of the Anti-Corruption Act No. 42 of 1996.

It is alleged that between May 1, 2006 and December 31 2006, Mfula, did corruptly receive $90,000.00 cash as gratification from Vik Vaid, a project manager at Universal Print Group of South Africa.

The payment was made through a company called Aeron Limited of Mauritius as a commission for the supply and delivery of disposable booths, chairs and tables relating to the contract between ECZ and Universal Print Group.

Patrick Bowa, 56, a business consultant, told Magistrate Ruth Chilembo that a company in which he was the chief operations officer, received $90,000 from a Mauritian company for the supply of election materials, corrugated desks and tables after Mfula became its investor.

Mr Bowa said he was running a group of companies called Venture Group when his friend, Edward Ndota proposed to him that his nephew, Mfula, was offering to invest in one of the money lending companies, Venture Fin.

He said Mr Ndota, who was in direct contact with Mr Mfula, proposed to him to change the directors of the company to those of other three people.

The three were Mr Ndota, Elizabeth Chishimba and Davis Chiti. Mr Bowa was to hold the least shareholding in the firm.

Mr Bowa said Mr Ndota told him that Mr Mfula was going to give them start up money to which he accepted.

He stated that the said money came to the company in four categories of K17 million (office rent and furniture), K45 million which was meant for the initial lending and later K80 million which was a bank loan.

He said the company later received $90,000.00 from a firm outside Zambia which was debited to the firm's Stanbic Bank account after they faxed an invoice to the Mauritian company for the supply of election materials and others.

Mr Bowa said the invoice with the value of $90,000 was sent to the Mauritian company after Mr Mfula received an email from a South African company which required Venture Fin to send an invoice for election materials, chairs and desks.

He said Mr Ndota later informed him that $90,000 had been debited to the bank's account from which Mr Ndota withdrew K100 million which he allegedly gave to Mfula.

Mr Bowa told the court that he later left the company because his stay was unattainable as Mr Ndota persistently told him that Mfula no longer wanted his presence.

Earlier, ECZ human resource manager, Cliad Siamachoka told the court that an officer from the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) approached him requesting for information which confirmed that Mfula was once an employee of ECZ.

Mr Siamachoka said he pulled out a confidential folder where he obtained information relating to Mfula's employment history with the commission and made a write-up which he gave to the officers.

He said as deputy director for information, Mfula had no powers to directly deal with procurement issues.

Trial continues.

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