THE SUPREME Court yesterday heard that former Finance Minister Katele Kalumba did not sign or authorise any payment for security installations ordered by Zambia Intelligence Service for which he was convicted. He revealed that the £4000 he received, which the prosecution claimed was a bribe to facilitate the payment was in fact a normal operation payment for which he signed and fully accounted for in line with his work as an operative of the intelligence system. The money, he said, could not have been a bribe as it was made in the course of his normal
operations. Payment for the installation to Willbain Incorporated and Systems Innovations, he explained started long before he became minister and continued long after he had left. He could not therefore understand why he had been prosecuted and convicted. This came to light during the Supreme Court hearing before Mr Justice Gregory Phiri sitting with Ms Justice Rhoyda Kaoma and Mr Justice Jones Chinyama where Dr Kalumba, Ms Stella Chibanda and defunct Access Financial Services directors Faustin Kabwe and Aaron Chungu have appealed against the Magistrate Court’s five (5) year jail sentence for abuse of authority of office which was upheld by the High Court. Dr Kalumba explained that in fact, the Magistrate Court should have acquitted him at the no case to answer point when they discovered that he had nothing to do with the 13 payments which were purportedly overpayments from the intelligence account. He said the said payments were actually made before he became minister between 1997 and 1999 as he only took office in July 1999 and only one out of the 13 payments was made under his authority as Minister of Finance but even that one was not signed for by Dr Kalumba And Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Lilian Siyuni in her submission said her office did not support the conviction. And speaking in her defence, lawyers representing former Finance permanent secretary Stella Chibanda. told the court that she was not given an opportunity to cross examine witnesses as provided for by the law, which was an injustice to her. It was against the law that she was not given the opportunity to cross examine. She added that the farm she was convicted of having acquired using funds from the Zamtroop account was bought with her own funds paid through Access Financial Services which was a broker with Zanaco. The farm was repossessed and sold by Zanaco. She said she paid for it using her own money paid through Access Financial Services as a guarantor and not from the Zamtroop account as alleged. She explained that there was no evidence before court that the money she used to pay for the farm was obtained from the Intelligence account as she paid through Access Financial Services and not from the Intelligence account. “Yes the first appellant was paid but there is no evidence to prove that the money was from the Intelligence account. Even if it was, how could she have known that when she was not part of the financing department of Access Financial Services,” lawyers representing said. Money purported to have been paid to her from the ZIS account was only withdrawn from the bank on December 22 when she already received her money from the financial institution a day before on December 21, as such there was no way the money could have been given to her before it was actually withdrawn. And Mr Kabwe and Mr Chungu have both submitted that the subordinate court should have acquitted them at the point of case to answer because there was no evidence against them in the matter. They charged that no money was paid out without legal authorization, that “we contend that prosecution of the 3rd and 4th appellants ought not to have taken place”. The Supreme court has since reserved judgment.