Contrary to media reports, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) may not have cleared Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba of corruption allegations involving US$500 million oil deal with trafigura.
Sources at ACC confirmed that investigations against Mr. Kabimba had fizzled out following President Michael Sata’s public censure of the commission, “This was after a lot of work had been done, some of it outside the country.”
ACC acting spokesperson Queen Chibwe told the Daily Nation that she was unable to comment on the matter,” I thought I got back to you. I cannot comment now on the Wynter Kabimba issue. I cannot.”
ACC insiders briefed the Daily Nation that ACC was unable to interrogate Mr. Kabimba inspite of emerging reports that Trafigura was recently banned from oil supply tendering in Malta following allegations that the company had paid huge sums of money in illegal commissions to officials.
Malta’s state-owned energy group said it has excluded two trading companies Trafigura and Total from oil supply contracts pending the conclusion of police investigations concerning alleged illegal commissions in 2004 and 2005.
“In Malta, fuel supplies to Enamalta are made through a public tender process managed by the government’s fuel procurement committee. Trafigura has regularly submitted bids in accordance with the tender process and when successful has delivered fuel to Enamalta.
Malta police in February arrested and started prosecuting in court former Enamalta chairman Tancred Tabone and his adviser Frank Sammut and accused them of bribery, corruption and money laundering. More arraignments were expected in the matter.
The arraignment followed a government decision to grant a pardon to Total’s former local agent George Farrugia, in return for information given to the police and to a court.
The insiders said the institution was working under pressure and that there was nothing the people of Zambia should expect on the investigations involving Mr. Kabimba.
“We tried to advise the bosses that the people of Zambia were waiting for the outcome of the investigations in the Kabimba matter but none of them is willing to proceed. We told them the people of Zambia have the right to know especially that this matter is already in the public domain,” they said.
The officials said that they were shocked to read in a newspaper that Mr. Kabimba and Defence Minister Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba (GBM) were cleared when investigations were put on hold after the presidential directives.
The officials said that ACC had failed to proceed with investigations because of the hostility and threats they were receiving from the PF leadership over their preliminary finding in the matter.
“If you remember ACC invited Mr. Kabimba for interviews and we made it clear that he was needed for interviews purposes and we did not intend to keep him unnecessarily but we were shocked that he came with a mob of cadres who made it difficult for us to proceed. And we advised him that we shall call him again or even follow him for the investigations,” the official said.
The insiders said that the institution had become weak under the PF government as it was not allowed to operate independently, adding that carrying out corruption investigations involving a Minister or a senior PF official was doing it at own risk.
The source said that it was not correct for some individuals to suggest that ACC cleared Mr. Kabimba over his allegations of corruption in the procurement of the US$500 million oil deal.