THE Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) must resolve the plunder of Access Financial Services Limited (AFSL) and Access Leasing Limited (ALL) whose assets disappeared at the central bank, civil rights activist Brebner Changala has demanded.
Mr Changala has also demanded for the disciplining and possible prosecution of Bank of Zambia legal counsel Leonard Kalinde who along with the central bank external lawyers attempted to suppress evidence of the plunder of AFSL and ALL.
Mr Changala wants the Ministry of Finance and BoZ to take note of Supreme Court Judge and Chief Justice Irene Mambilima’s judgment of 4th February, 2016, which lambasted BoZ for wanting using the legal professional privilege to suppress criminal activities at AFSL and ALL since 2003 in full view of BoZ senior officials.
Mr Changala told the Daily Nation in an interview yesterday that it was important for the Ministry of Finance and BoZ to verify and understand the role of the external lawyers the central bank had hired over the last 10 years.
Mr Changala has demanded to know the role the BoZ external
lawyers played in the seizure and subsequent liquidation of AFSL and ALL and the amount of money that was paid both in legal and management fees.
“As a layman and a former banker myself, BoZ was supposed to proceed under Section 84 (b) in
their handling of AFSL and ALL. The Bank of Zambia was supposed to restructure or reorganize the financial service provider since it was liquid. They were supposed to either sell the company as a going concern or close the institution. BoZ should have taken any action necessary which could have enabled the bank carry out its function under Section 84 (b),” Mr Changala said.
He explained that BoZ could also have acted under Section 92 (1) which he said stated that where in the opinion of the central bank or financial institution has discharged all the obligations referred to under Section 89, the remainder of its properties shall be distributed to the rightful owners.
Mr Changala stated that the owners of AFSL and ALL had the right to the money which he said was being paid to BoZ external lawyers who were at the same time prosecuting the directors of the two financial institutions through the disbanded Task Force on Corruption.
He explained that the BoZ external lawyers were legal advisors to the central bank while at the same time they were prosecuting AFSL and ALL directors through the defunct Task Force on Corruption.
“I verily believe BoZ was misled to place AFSL and ALL into liquidation when the two firms were solvent. Most importantly, the external lawyers started receiving money from the two institutions in liquidation.
When an internal audit revealed serious irregularities, Dr Kalinde, a BoZ lawyer and the external lawyers wanted to suppress evidence which was unprofessional. Consequently, the highest court in the land rejected their bid,” Mr Changala said.
Mr Changala said the execution of duties under the Financial Services Act required good faith which he said was lacking in the BoZ legal department especially after there was an attempt to suppress evidence which has since been disapproved by the Supreme Court.
“I demand that Mr Kalinde be disciplined and where necessary be prosecuted because the Bank of Zambia’s name has been brought into disrepute.
BoZ Governor Denny Kalyalya has the mandate to bring confidence and trust to our Reserve Bank. He cannot tolerate what is happening at that regulatory body,” Mr Changala said.