THE ACC must explain to the nation why they have failed to investigate the looting of more than US$1.3million from properties illegally seized by the defunct Task Force on Corruption.
The order for a criminal investigation and prosecution was made by a court of law, why has the ACC failed to implement the order?
The people who operated that account are still alive and the files must still be available and therefore it should not be difficult to establish the truth. The ACC should be able to establish those responsible for looting the money which was stashed away in New York and Isle of Man accounts.
We hate to believe that the people responsible are so powerful as to intimidate the entire ACC against undertaking an investigation as demanded by the Judge, nobody is that powerful as to be beyond the long reach of the arm of the law.
The judgment by Supreme Court Judge Musonda is very clear and categorical regarding the need for an investigation and subsequent criminal prosecution of those responsible.
This matter is in the public domain. It is a matter involving the unlawful transfer of properties from Access Finance to the Bank of Zambia. This was illegal and untenable and yet it was done.
The Bank of Zambia is not a body empowered with any form of criminal jurisdiction. Clearly this was done for the purpose of facilitating theft of funds, more so that the same person involved in criminal prosecution was also involved as a partner in a law firm that was advising the Bank of Zambia.
It will be recalled that lawyers representing Tedworth Properties demand the return of the properties because there were no investigations against them, but the liquidation manager Mr. Mwansopelo, ensconced in the Bank of Zambia opposed the motion and his lawyer Nchito contested an application for leave to commence contempt proceedings against him.
The decision against Mwansopelo arose from a previous failure by the Bank of Zambia to render an account of the mesne profits and subsequent profits collected during the restriction period. In particular the Judge wanted an explanation of payments made to third parties from these same proceeds.
The judge, then, as we also do today, did not understand why the Tedworth properties which were seized by the Task Force on an order from the Anti Corruption Commission were transferred to the Bank of Zambia which had no authority over criminal matters.
The judge ruled and we quote “ The Bank of Zambia acted unlawfully and what followed from the possessing of the properties is unlawful. A property company which is a limited company and has a separate legal personality, see Salamon v Salamon and section 22 of the companies act, separates the company from directors and gives the company the same rights as natural persons. Tedworth is or was not a financial institution to fall under the jurisdiction of Bank of Zambia, nor was the company under investigation.”
The judge noted that the fiery resistance to account for the funds collected seemed to indicate that there was a “smoking gun” pointing to the fact that the funds had been abused.
He finally observed that the transfer of criminal matters to the realm of company law was a brazen disregard for the rule of law and a spirited attempt to resist accountability.
Judge Musonda therefore ordered that the ACC should immediately take over the properties and that if assets had been abused the ACC should institute criminal investigations.
We now understand that the fund were indeed abused.
The question is; why has the ACC failed to abide by the court decision to commence criminal proceedings to recover the money that has been so abused?