…as Nchito, M’membe’s Zambian Airways caught in another financial scandal
DESPERATE efforts are being made to write off more than US$2,3 million swindled from the National Airports Corporation (NAC) by the defunct Zambian Airways.
The money was collected by Zambian Airways in service charges and ground handling fees on behalf of NAC but was never remitted to the institution and now the ruling party has raised a red flag against the clandestine and covert manoeuvres to have the debt written off.
PF director of communications and publicity Brian Hapunda has demanded that the airline’s directors should be held accountable because the money in question was meant for the Government treasury and not private individuals.
The Daily Nation has been informed that there were maneuvers to have the US$2.3m written off.
But Mr Hapunda has warned against such schemes because the money involved belonged to Zambians and could therefore not be considered as bad debt when the owners of the airline were still available.
Mr Hapunda said the party was concerned by ongoing maneuvers to unscrupulously influence the writing off of the $2.3 million Zambian Airways debt with its accrued interests.
He said the PF Government was a strong proponent of good corporate governance and it was its desire that all institution regardless of their status and relationship with Government practice the set norms.
Mr Hapunda said the mystery surrounding the operations of Zambian Airways and the conduct of its directors had created fears that the airline could have been a conduit for money laundering and that unless and until this matter was cleared, Zambians would continue demanding that the law should follow the perpetrators of economic transgressions.
He said the PF was worried that the NAC could fail to recover its money from Zambian Airways because of the maneuvers to have the debt written off, an act that would be tantamount to swindling the corporation.
Mr Hapunda said revelations that Zambian Airways was one of the beneficiaries from the Zamtrop account from which its directors received US$50 000 had shocked many Zambians because the owners of the airline had over the years been pontificating good corporate governance behaviour.
He said it was critical for the directors of the liquidated airline to clear fears that they applied underhand methods to run their businesses because they had left a trail of fraudulence in most of their business undertakings.
“We have over the years known that Zambian Airways collected ground handling and service charge fees on behalf of National Airports Corporation but this money was never remitted to the corporation. About US$2.3 million was collected by Zambian Airways but it never reached the national treasury because it was not paid to NAC. What is disturbing is that there have been frantic efforts by the directors of Zambian Airways to have the debt written off. As the party in Government that strongly espouses good corporate governance, we are not going to accept that such an amount of money meant for Zambians should end up in the pockets of few individuals. We want Zambians to know that they will be losing their money if this money will not be recovered,” Mr Hapunda said.
He said the directors of the defunct Zambian Airways should apologise to Zambians for the many economic ills they had caused to the country and should avoid demonizing State institutions such as the Annel Silungwe Tribunal currently probing the alleged professional misconduct of Mr Nchito.
Mr Hapunda said it was shocking that former Chief Justice Mathew Ngulube had become a victim of malice and slander when Zambian Airways through Access Finance had received US$50 000 from the Zamtrop account for unknown services.