THE Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) must own up and give a true and accurate account of the funds received from the Bank of Zambia at the time the Tedworth properties were handed over in accordance with Judge Philip Musonda’s order.
The order was clear and unequivocal: The ACC was to investigate the use to which rentals from the properties had been put before being handed over to the commission, for the purposes of prosecuting those who abused the fund.
He found, as a matter of fact, that the properties were illegally reposed in the Bank of Zambia which had no cause or mandate, although Access Finance investigation were given as an excuse.
It is common knowledge that the issue of Access Finance looting was a matter of court process and therefore open to the public who learnt that funds had been abused. The bank’s own internal processes are yet to yield meaningful information in spite of indication of large-scale graft.
That is why the highly guarded statement issued by the ACC was most unhelpful; it was a total whitewash intended to cover up serious criminality. If anything it raised more questions than answers because it failed to deal with pertinent issues that were initially raised by our Press query.
The question we asked, to which we have not received an answer, was whether or not the ACC had followed the Lusaka High Court order which demanded an investigation into the suspected abuse of rentals for the properties which were illegally reposed in the Bank of Zambia.
We expected the ACC to be categorical in responding to our question instead of issuing a blanket press statement seemingly exonerating massive plunder and pillage.
The issue is very simple; the former Task Force on Corruption seized the Tedworth properties because officers from Access Financial Services were being investigated. The properties were then vested in the Bank of Zambia, which had nothing to do with criminal investigations.
For the last 12 years or so the properties were managed from the Bank of Zambia, until Judge Philip Musonda ordered that the Bank had no right to hold properties which should have been reposed in the ACC in accordance with the law. He went as far as stating that the reposing of the properties in BoZ was illegal.
Recently it transpired that the rentals from the properties had been looted to the tune of US$1.3million which had vanished through accounts established overseas to siphon the money.
The question we asked was also very clear, we wanted to know who opened the accounts overseas in which the rentals were banked and if indeed this was done with the approval of the Bank of Zambia and if so if the money has since been transferred to Lusaka and the accounts overseas closed.
We wish to reiterate that our desire is to seek answers from public institutions which have a responsibility to public accountability. If there is nothing amiss let us be told so, but it is neither fair, just nor proper for a public body that the ACC is to equivocate and hide information behind meaningless Press statements.
How much did the ACC receive for the 12 years that the properties were managed by the Bank of Zambia? Who operated the accounts and from which mandate? These are the question that must be answered.