US$1.3m looted

Us dollar

…as ACC fails to investigate the matter

MORE than US$1.3million in rentals from illegally seized properties by the defunct Task Force on Corruption has vanished without trace.

Security sources have revealed that the properties which were illegally seized and kept at the Bank of Zambia before Judge Philip Musonda ordered their immediate transfer to the Anti-Corruption Commission, were looted and “pillaged” of all rentals in elaborate schemes before the transfer and nobody has been brought to account

This, according to the sources, is in contravention of the court order which demanded specific criminal investigation and prosecution of the people responsible of looting from the properties, whose accounts were opened in the Island for Man and United States of America.

The ACC which was ordered to investigate the looting and prosecute the people responsible, has apparently closed investigation into the matter because it is too sensitive and involves a number of personalities at the Bank of Zambia.

The properties, which were being managed by Access Finance, were seized by the Task Force and then illegally transferred to the Bank of Zambia from where money in rentals was stolen through various schemes including inflated legal fees and management costs.

In his ruling Judge Philip Musonda ordered that “…there was need for criminal investigations to be instituted with the help of the Police and the Drug Enforcement Commission, because the Bank of Zambia had no role to play in criminal investigations.”

In 2011 Judge Musonda ordered that Tedworth Properties that were abused and looted at the Bank of Zambia should have been surrendered to the Anti-Corruption Commission because the Central Bank had no role to play in the criminal investigations against Tedworth Properties.

He observed that there was a cold hand in the process of transferring seized Tedworth Properties to the Bank of Zambia when it was the sole mandate of the Anti-Corruption Commission to dispose of the assets.

Judge Musonda said the ACC were the lawful possessors of the seized Tedworth Properties and were therefore accountable for the assets but that the Bank of Zambia unlawfully took possession and were ordered to surrender the properties to ACC but did not, leading to the looting of the assets.

Justice Musonda had ordered that if the assets were abused without the authority of the complainant who at the time was Austin Kabwe, there was need for criminal investigations to be instituted by the Zambia Police and the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC).

The High Court ordered that the ACC were from the issuance of the restriction order the legitimate possessors of the seized assets and that if the properties had been looted, the liquidators which was the Bank of Zambia through Mwansopelo should have accounted for the assets.

Judge Musonda ruled that it was factually, legally and intellectually flawed for Mr Mutembo Nchito, now the suspended Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and Mr Mwansopelo to divest the director general of the ACC of the power and give it to the Bank of Zambia where the assets were eventually looted.

“While I sympathise with the mainstream Anti-Corruption Commission, especially the investigating officer, whom I think had a professional approach, but there was a cold hand because no professional ACC investigator would have transferred exhibits to the Bank of Zambia which can only be deposed of under the ACC Act and the Criminal Procedure Code.

The Bank of Zambia unlawfully intruded into the functions of the ACC and the court orders that the director general immediately takes over the assets of Tedworth Properties.  If the assets were abused without the authority of the owner of the properties, there was need to institute criminal investigations by the police and the Drug Enforcement Commission and other relevant institutions,” Justice Musonda ruled.

Justice Musonda ruled that the transfer of a criminal matter into the realm of company law by Mr Nchito was nothing but a brazen disregard for the rule of law and a spirited attempt to resist accountability over the looted Tedworth assets. He ruled that it was legally fatal for Mr Nchito at the time to argue that the properties and its mesne profits be left in possession of the Bank of Zambia because the ACC was the rightful party under the Anti-Corruption Act.

Judge Musonda in his ruling said it was a mystery why criminal proceedings against Tedworth were terminated but hastened to state that the proceedings were not viable because Tedworth was not a subject of investigations but rather Mr Faustine Kabwe.

“The fierce resistance to account or the liquidator’s disdain for accountability as Americans would say makes the court to think there is a smoking gun that the assets may have been abused.

As judges, we cannot be fence sitters when our orders are disobeyed. You cannot solve a problem with the mindest that created the problem, that of lack of accountability. The Bank of Zambia took over the Tedworth Properties because there was a scheme which was carefully planned and intended to be neatly executed,” Judge Musonda said.

In 2010, Judge Musonda ordered that the seizure of Tedworth Properties was null and void as the properties on market overt and should therefore be returned to its owners but this has never happened and the assets have since been looted by known people.

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