THE plunder and looting of sequestrated properties including those of Tedworth Properties in which more than US$1.3 million has disappeared despite having been reported to all State investigative agencies including the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) and the Zambia Police has been exposed.
All the three State investigating agencies have failed to investigate or make any arrest of the people suspected of being involved in the criminal activities that have looted the properties because of either collusion or inertia.
This was in spite of serious cases of impropriety and abuse of funds reported and documented in audits at the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) where the properties were reposed after they were illegally seized by the defunct Task Force on Corruption in 2003.
It took the judgment of Supreme Court Judge Philip Musonda to move the properties from the control of Bank of Zambia to the Anti-Corruption Commission, where he said the properties should have been reposed.
No prosecution has taken place because the culprits were too powerful, a security source revealed.
The agencies have even failed to investigate and prosecute individuals behind the opening of a bogus and illegal Tedworth bank account in New York, into which rental proceeds were supposed to have been deposited to facilitate the looting, run under the authority of former chairman Mark Chona and lead prosecutor Mutembo Nchito.
According to records shown to the Daily Nation the properties were bought by Tedworth in 1997 from defunct Meridien Bank through S.P Mulenga and Associates in a transaction conveyanced by Patrick Matibini for the vendor and Joyce Mulunga for the purchaser.
Patrick Matibini later merged with Nchito brothers in MNB Legal practitioners.
When the Task Force on Corruption was formed in 2002 Mutembo Nchito became the lead prosecutor with his firm MNB serving as Bank of Zambia external counsel seized the properties which by then were being managed by Access Financial Services Limited (AFSL)
Attempts by the owners to reclaim the properties failed in spite of letters written to the ACC, DEC and the Zambia Police informing them about the abuse the sequestrated properties were suffering.
In a letter dated 4th February 2013 to the Drug Enforcement Commission, Mr Kabwe complained that as one of the directors, he suspected fraud and money laundering activities after the Bank of Zambia had taken over AFSL.
He revealed that there had been attempts and manoeuvere by some officials at the Bank of Zambia to cover up what the High Court in its ruling termed a smoking gun so that the courts could be blinded of the mischief that was taking place.
Mr Kabwe revealed that the assets of Access Insurance Brokers Limited, a subsidiary of AFSL were sold in unexplained circumstances to a new insurance broking company named Kwacha Insurance Brokers Limited which was allegedly owned by the former employees of AFSL.
“AFSL was engaged in investment of certain properties belonging to its clients that included the Zambia Security Intelligence Services (ZSIS) among others. A full accounting of these investments was made to the authorities when the issue of the ZSIS business relationship with AFSL was investigated in 2003,” Mr Kabwe said.
He explained that when the Bank of Zambia took over AFSL, concern was raised as to what could have happened to the properties and the rental income that was being realised.
He disclosed that in the Tedworth Properties, there was a letter from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), a tenant in one of the Tedworth Properties announcing the creation of a fake company offshore which would receive rental income from UNHCR.
He stated that the letter from UNHCR indicated that rentals from the properties would be deposited in a named bank and fake account at Citi Bank, New York in the United States of America.
Tedworth Properties, he said, were bought from Meridian Bank in a transaction conducted in 1998 in which AFSL was not involved in any way, “Wer only came to manage the properties after the owners asked us to take over from S.P.Mulenha.” he explained.
“The letter from UNHCR, although similar in name, the fake company, Tedwoth Properties Limited is a different company from Tedworth Properties Inc which owns the properties. In fact is likely that the two companies are incorporated in different jurisdictions,” Mr Kabwe said.
He explained that the financial statements of AFSL were not being prepared for the entire period that AFSL was under BoZ control and after nine years, a consolidated statement of account was filed in court that the company was insolvent when it was viable at the time the Central Bank took over.
“We are not sure about all the people that may have been involved in the fraud, money laundering activities but several Bank of Zambia officials and their professional advisors have been associated with the management and control of AFSL since its takeover in 2003. These include Mr Marshall Mwansopelo, Mr Maulu Hamunjele and Dr Leonard Kalinde all of the Bank of Zambia,” Mr Kabwe said in the letter to DEC.