Nchito in $4.2m loan saga


THE controversial nolle prosequi granted to Finance Bank Zambia Limited board chairman Rajan Mahtani and his lawyer John Sangwa by the now suspended Director of Public Prosecution Mutembo  Nchito who was a party to the US$4.2 million owed to the bank, was an abuse of the judicial process, Civil rights activist Brebner Changala has charged.

He said this was because the signing of a consent order entered into between Finance Bank Zambia Limited and its creditors Fred M’membe, the Post Newspaper Mr Nchito, his brother Nchima Nchito, their law firm JNC Holdings Limited over the settlement of US$4.2 million came soon after the nolle prosequi.

Mr. Changala was reacting to criticism by the Post newspaper which has condemned the tribunal for pursuing mundane issues.

On 28th November, 2012, High Court Judge Nigel Mutuna entered a consent judgment between Finance Bank Zambia Limited and Keiran Day, Mine Air Services T/A Zambian Airways, JNC Holdings, Post Newspaper, Mutembo Nchito, Nchima Nchito and Fred M’membe.

In March 2013, Mr Nchito entered a nolle prosequi in a matter in which Dr Mahtani, the board chairman of Finance Bank and his lawyer John Sangwa were accused of forging a signature of Bank of Zambia’s deputy Governor and now Central Bank Governor Denny Kalyalya.

But Mr Changala said the consent order had more questions   than answers and has suggested  that those involved in the saga could havemore to hide from Zambians.

Mr Changala said the wicked campaign that has been launched by the Post Newspaper and its allies against the Annel Silungwe Tribunal currently investigating Mr Nchito was meant to frustrate the proceedings because there was a possibility the suspended DPP, Mr M’Membe and his newspaper, Nchima and JNC would be dragged into the investigations.

Mr Changala said Mr M’membe and the Post Newspaper having been self-appointed moralists should humble themselves and tell Zambians what role they played in the US$4.2 million Finance Bank Zambia Limited loan as they were part to the consent order.

“This country must be very careful with Fred M’membe and his Post Newspaper, the self-appointed moralists who have over the years demonized many prominent Zambians while pontificating self-righteousness. The consent order involving Finance Bank and its creditors that include the suspended DPP Mutembo Nchito, his brother Nchima Nchito, their law firm JNC Holdings, Mr M’membe and Keiran Day begs a lot of answers because it does not give details and terms of the consent.

“From a layman’s point of understanding, there is a lot being hidden in the consent. Knowing that there is a case of US$4.2 million owed by the defunct Zambian Airways to Finance Bank, it is not surprising that Mr Nchito granted a controversial nolle prosequi to Dr Mahtani and his lawyer John Sangwa,” Mr Changala said.

He said there was a good reason for Zambians to suspect that there was something erroneous in the consent order and that there was need for clear answers to be given over the saga.

Mr Changala has demanded that Finance Bank should tell the nation if the US$4.2 million was written off and if so whether the money was deposited into the depositors account or Dr Mahtani’s account as personal money.

He wondered whether the money was part of the dividends declared to the Finance Bank directors or a donation to Zambian Airways.

“What is the status of the US$4.2 million Finance Bank loan to Zambian Airways?

Can Finance Bank tell the nation if the debt was written off and if so, was the money deposited into the depositors account or Dr Mahtani personal account? If it was written off, was it an outright donation to Zambian Airways?

“And who authorized the consent order on behalf of Finance Bank and did the bank approve the order. What is the position of the Bank of Zambia over the security of depositors at Finance Bank? Because of the foregoing, I demand that the Post and its owner Fred M’membe should stay away from commenting on the Mutembo tribunal because they are highly conflicted,” Mr Changala said.

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