THE family of second Republican President Frederick Chiluba has refused to collect his clothes seized by the Task Force on Corruption until the full circumstances of the seizure are offered.
The family is particularly incensed that it is the Bank of Zambia liquidator of Access Financial Services Limited who is dealing with the matter instead of the Anti-Corruption Commission.
They have now instructed their legal team to write asking the Bank of Zambia to explain how it came in possession of the property that was seized by another institution when it had nothing to do with the investigations over the corruption charges against the former head of State.
On 14th December last year, Access Financial Services Limited liquidation manager who is from the Bank of Zambia wrote to Dr Chiuba’s family asking them to collect late former president’s clothes and shoes.
The source explained that the family was disappointed with the manner the whole issue was handled by the investigating authorities. “Even if it was the Taskforce which wanted to hand-over the property to the family, it would still not make sense because, honestly speaking, how long has it taken from the time that man was acquitted? How long has it taken from the time he died? These people have continued mocking the poor man even in his grave.
“The family expected the Task Force on Corruption to declare what they found from the investigations they were carrying out over the matter and tell the nation whether the man was cleared, and then hand over the property to him while he was still alive. Now you have a situation where even after being acquitted, the bank or the Taskforce on Corruption continued holding on to the clothes. This doesn’t make sense and that is why the family refused to take the clothes,” the source said.
The Chiluba family rejected the offer saying the Bank OF Zambia was not the right institution to hand back the said property.
The family was surprised how the property which was under the Task Force on Corruption had found itself with the Bank of Zambia which had nothing to do with the investigations in the alleged corruption scandal.
The source said that the family wanted the investigating authorities to come out clear on the matter because their operations left a lot to be desired.
And according to the letter by the family’s lawyers Simeza, Sangwa and Associates addressed to the Liquidation Manager at Access Finance Services Limited dated 2nd July, 2015, the family wants to know how the bank came into possession of the property.
The family also wants to know if the bank intended to assume liability for the wrongful interference with the family’s property and the resultant damages for conversion.
“Your letter dated 15th December 2014, has been passed on to us with instructions to respond. Kindly advise how you came in possession of late Dr. Chiluba’s personal effects which you now wish to handover to his beneficiaries. Also advise whether Access Financial Services and the Bank of Zambia intend to assume liability for the wrongful interference with our client’s property and the resultant damages for conversion,” read the letter.
In March 2005, hundreds of Dr. Chiluba’s shirts, suits and shoes were seized from a warehouse in Lusaka by police as they were suspected to be proceeds of corruption, a move Dr. Chiluba said was aimed at disgracing and humiliating him.
The Task Force on Corruption suspected the clothes were bought using government funds and believed the former president hid them at the warehouse.
But Mr Chiluba said his new home was too small for all his belongings and that was why they were at a warehouse for safe-keeping.
Dr. Chiluba died without seeing his property handed back to him and in a dramatic turn of events, the property which was in the custody of the Task Force on Corruption found itself shelved at the Bank of Zambia in a clandestine style that the family is now questioning.
In 2009, Dr. Chiluba was cleared of charges of theft of US $500,000 after a five-year investigation.
According to the judgment, the acquittal was based on the fact that the prosecution team failed to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt on all counts against the former president.