Splits within the patriotic Front (PF) have intensified with revelations that new corruption charges are being framed against Defence Minister Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba (GBM) with the intention of removing him from the position of Minister and finally expelling him as Kasama Central Member of Parliament.
According to PF sources, the cartel wants to use the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to implicate Mr. Mwamba in the procurement of tenders fortransporting maize for the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) through Arizona Transport a company that he owns but is run by members of his family.
GBM is seen as a threat in the succession race because he has financial means to match the cartel which is intent on assuming power.
“Forces within the PF want to use ACC to implicate GBM in abuse of office and corruption related offences in order to kick him out of government. This follows the failure of earlier attempt in which he was not found wanting by ACC over the Zesco pole issue. The Zesco issue did not go as planned because it also involved Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba who suffered intense exposure and scrutiny,” sources said.
The present wrangle involves transport tenders awarded to GBM’s company Arizona Marketing Distributors Company run by his family.
“This whole thing started when GBM was summoned to appear before ACC for the Zesco poles, on which he was cleared together with Mr. Kabimba. The cartel only wanted GBM in that case but because ACC exposed Kabimba of corruption in the Trafugura’s US$500 million oil deal they were forced to clear them both in order to come back for GMB alone,” said the officials.
They now plan to go after Arisona Marketing Distributors Company run by his family to build up a case of corrupt dealings in the manner they procured transportation tenders of maize at FRA.
“One thing which is not coming out is that during the investigations Arizona Marketing and Distributors Company management were summoned three times to appear before ACC because the cartel thought they had done a good job by removing some documents from the bid document they submitted to ACC.
But they (cartel) had forgotten that those documents they removed from the bid document and the correspondences between company management and Zesco were also copied to Arisona. And that is how the corruption allegations against Mr. Mwamba were closed.”
According to the officials the cartel was also scheming to implicate Home Affairs Minister Edgar Lungu on unknown offences in order to have him lose President Sata’s favour to act as president in the near future, adding that they wanted to pave themselves a clear path way to the party’s presidency if President Michael Sata steps down.