Former Finance Bank director Simataa Simataa has vowed to spill the beans and has now directed his lawyers to institute defamation proceedings against the Bank’s owner Dr Rajan Mahtani for suggesting that the K1 billion money he was paid was to gag him from speaking.
Simataa said that the K1 billion he was paid out of court was not to gag him, but to withdraw a matter from court.
Following a story published in the Daily Nation after Simataa gave evidence of Finance Bank irregularities, Dr Mahtani demanded a refund o f the K1 billion that was ostensibly paid for his silence.
Speaking in an interview, Simataa said that he was going to sue Mahtani for defaming him, adding that he was ready to face Mahtani head on in court and allow Zambians know why he left the bank.
“I want you to go and ask his lawyers Mr. Mundashi, his sister Mary Shultz, I wish late Steven Malama and my lawyer Mr. Lisimba why he paid me that money. It was not to gag me it was for me to withdraw the matter from court and never to take it back. And the other thing I got was my personal car which he is not talking about,” said Simataa.
He said Dr Mahtani should have presented the whole document of agreement he signed to ascertain whether he was being paid to shut up or for constructive dismissal.
“They should have presented the whole document which we signed rather than taking half barked documents for publication,” said Simataa.
In a letter of claim to Simata, Dr Mahtani has given Simataa a seven days ultimatum to pay back K1 million (K1 billion) with interest for breaching the agreement.
“I exposed irregularities in the bank. One of them was to do with dividends or profits payable to all shareholders. The bank would issue dividends in all different names or individuals shareholders but that cheques were deposited into Finsbury account. And this meant that there were no shareholders. Shareholders did not exist,” said Simataa.
He said that the matter of irregular business or banking or money laundering was reported to the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) before 2007 of which the security wing instituted investigations.
Simataa said that by virtue of his job at the bank then, a lot of things about the bank operations came through to his office and that officials in the bank became unhappy because they wanted him to sweep irregular activities such as money laundering, inside borrowing under the carpet.
“That is why people in the bank did not like me because if there were issues to do with money laundering, the action to take was to report to DEC or any other security wing or authority and people were unhappy and this made my stay at the bank difficult,” said Simataa.
He explained that in 2007 when he was leaving the bank as a matter of procedure for a person holding the position of Chief Money Laundering director in the bank he was required to write a report to the Bank of Zambia indicating why he was resigning or leaving the bank.
“In my exit interview by the Bank of Zambia which was procedural, I informed the central bank why I had resigned, which Dr. Mahtani is aware about.
You see in 2003 ex-employees of Finance Bank sued the bank for nonpayment of terminal benefits and pension and I was asked to give evidence in a court of law. And that upset them and they threatened to take me to court and that is why I have now dared them to meet me in court,” he said.
Simataa said that it was therefore, great shame for Mahtani to suggest that the payment of K1 billion was to gag him.