THE Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ) should take the K14 million loan case currently before the court seriously otherwise they will lose the case,former Federation of Free Trade Unions in Zambia (FFTZ) president Joyce Nonde-Simukoko has said.
Ms Nonde said the case had drawn a lot of interest among Zambians due to its magnitude and that people wanted the case to be concluded promptly.
“What is important is for DBZ itself to know that this matter has brought a lot of interest from all over the country.
“What the DBZ management must know is that this case has brought a lot of tension in the country and people would want to know the truth.
On Thursday, DBZ fired its legal counsel Guta Gondwe who has been representing the bank in the K14 million loan which Lusaka High Court Judge Nigel Mutuna said was obtained by fraudulent misrepresentation by suspended Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mutembo Nchito and his business partner Fred M’membe.
The case which was redirected to the High Court from the Supreme Court in 2013 could not take off on Thursday after Mr Gondwe announced that DBZ had withdrawn instructions from him to continue representing the bank over the matter. He did not give reasons for his removal.
And civil rights activist Brebner Changala has described the decision by Government to dispense with the services of Mr Gondwe as the best for the DBZ and advised that the bank should consider recalling its former lawyer, Vincent Malambo who had successfully litigated the case.
He also called for the recall of the former DBZ Managing Director Dr. Abraham Mweenda who was hounded out of the Bank after he insisted that the matter of the loan which the Government at the time was trying to withdraw from court should proceed.
Mr Changala said the landmark judgment by High Court Judge Nigel Mutuna who ordered the repayment of the loan and the prosecution of Mr Nchito and Mr M’membe was possible because of the legal representation by Mr Malambo and that his dismissal after he had successfully litigated the case was motivated by political intonation.
Mrs Simukoko explained that most Zambians were unable to access loans from financial institutions because of some people who were privileged to get non-performing loans are never paid back and were never pursued, thereby affecting not only would-be borrowers, but workers of such financial institutions which would in turn collapse.
“Having been the general secretary for financial institutions, we were always talking about non-performing loans in the financial sector that sometimes left workers stranded. If you remember a lot of banks collapsed and the workers went with nothing. To-date, those people who made these banks to go bankrupt are never taken to book.
“So people must understand that non-performing loans have left a lot of people and families destitute and therefore, it is not something that is simple. Because of non-performing loans, most Zambians are not able to borrow from banks because of the strict rules and conditions that the banks set for the customers. Again you can’t blame the banks because they are coming up with strict conditions because of non-performing loans,” she observed.
She observed that all Zambians have been affected by the K14 million DBZ loan and want the issue concluded as quickly as possible. She said all those who had failed to return the loan should be followed and probed so that the monies could be realised.
“So it (DBZ case) really affects all of us because of people who borrow and are not able to pay. It is not something that should be taken lightly by anybody because it is a big issue and all Zambians would want to see how this particular case will be resolved.
“It is not only this particular case because there are a lot of the Zambians who have defaulted. Some of them have never been pursued and we would want all of them to be pursued. If people have failed to pay back the money, they must be pursued because they are blocking other people who should have also borrowed from the same institution,” she said.