12 January 2013

Zambia: 'Libongani Ordered Transfer of K500m'

A WITNESS has testified that Inspector General of police Stella Libongani instructed him to transfer K500 million from the imprest accounts of the Zambia Police Service to the operations accounts early this year.

And another witness testified that the K500 million which lay idle in the ZPS imprest account had no guidelines on how it should be used compared to other monies transferred in similar manner with proper guidelines.

Philemon Njovu, 50, a principal accountant, said the police came across information concerning the existence of the K500 million in September 2011 and when he informed his superiors they expressed ignorance about it.

This is in a case in which three former service chiefs have pleaded not guilty to stealing K1.5 billion meant for operations of the security wings prior to and after the 2011 general elections.

The trio, former Zambia Air Force commander Andrew Sakala, 60, former Zambia National Service commandant Anthony Yeta, 59, and former Zambia Army commander Wisdom Lopa, 60, are jointly charged with the offence of theft by public servant contrary to the Laws of Zambia.

Particulars allege that the trio, between September 16 and September 21, 2011 in Lusaka, serving in the Ministry of Defence, stole K1, 500,000,000, the property of the said employer.

"This money was discovered in September 2011 through the constant check of balance sheets. When I asked my superiors expressed ignorance, later the IG then Dr Martin Malama investigated and established that it came from OP, and through his deputy then Ms Libongani instructed that the monies be transferred into the police operations accounts," he said.

In cross-examination, Mr Njovu said it was not strange for the service to receive and utilise this kind of money because they knew exactly how to use it. He added that at the time the money was discovered the service had no instructions on how it should be utilised.

Mr Njovu said he had no control over the account in which Ms Libongani instructed him to transfer the monies and that the recent such transfer involved K800 million meant for Zambian borders with emergencies.

Another witness, Obino Mwamba, a cashier in the ZPS, testified that the K500 million received by the police had no guidelines and as a result he did not know how it was used.

In cross-examination, Mr Mwamba, who kept on eluding questions on the police secret intelligence operations, said he was not aware about it but at some stage said he was aware but did not know how it operated.

When questioned if both witnesses were aware that another former IG Francis Kabonde left K300 million cash in his office before he left, they both denied.

The matter was adjourned to January 21, this year for continued trial.

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