REVELATIONS that the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is intending to appeal against a High Court ruling that ordered the investigations and prosecution of people who looted the illegally seized Tedworth Properties is clear testimony that the commission is protecting criminals involved in the plunder, Patriotic Front (PF) Lusaka Province youth chairman Kennedy Kamba has charged.
He said it was shocking that the ACC had closed investigations into the matter after Judge Philip Musonda ordered that the known persons who plundered Tedworth assets that were illegally seized by the defunct Task Force on Corruption should be prosecuted.
Mr Kamba said the disappearance of US$1.3 million from the Bank of Zambia under the watch of the ACC was raising a lot of concerns and has asked the owners of the seized properties to find means and ways of compelling the commission to follow the people who were involved in the looting.
He told the Daily Nation that the ACC should have been happy with Judge Musonda’s ruling that ordered that the Properties should be returned to the commission because it was the rightful institution to have been in possession of the now looted assets.
Mr Kamba said ACC should not appeal against the High Court ruling that reinstated its mandate to take over possession of the seized properties but should instead pursue the people who illegally transferred the properties to Bank of Zambia with the aim of looting them.
The Lusaka Province youth strongman said the decision by the ACC to consider appealing a ruling that was in its favour had sparked speculations that the commission was shielding criminals some of whom he said were the members of the cartel that had over the years been controlling State institutions.
He wondered why the ACC was reluctant to recover more than US$1.3 million in rentals from the seized Tedworth Properties that had vanished without trace when the High Court ruling had ordered for the investigation and prosecution of the culprits.
“We have been following the US$1.3 million rentals from the illegally seized Tedworth Properties that story keenly and we are saddened with the revelations that the Anti-Corruption Commission is not interested in bringing the culprits to book. We are alive to the fact that Judge Philip Musonda ordered the investigation and prosecution of the known people who were involved in the plunder of seized Tedworth Properties at Bank of Zambia. In fact, the High Court ruling ordered that the properties were supposed to have been returned to ACC who were the rightful institution to manage the assets. ACC should tell us whose interests they would be serving by objecting that they take possession of the seized properties,” Mr Kamba said.
He wondered why the ACC was resisting to prosecute the people who illegally seized and looted the Tedworth Properties which should have been forfeited to the State instead of reposing them into the Bank of Zambia.
Security sources have revealed to the Daily Nation that 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.
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.
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.
“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.