Security wings have questioned former vice-president, George Kunda and former minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Felix Mutati in the acquisition of the controversial border scanners at a cost of over K100 billion.
The investigators quizzed the two former MMD leaders in connection with suspected illegalities in the acquisition of eight border scanners.
Mr Mutati arrived at the former offices of the task force on corruption on Buluwe Road in Lusaka’s Woodlands area around 14:00 hours on Wednesday.
His appearance was in connection with reports that the awarding of tenders for the purchase of scanners by the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) was marred with irregularities.
Spokesperson of the combined team of security personnel, Charity Chanda, confirmed the development and said Mr Mutati’s appearance was meant to help the team understand what he knew about the tender process in the ZRA deal.
This is in a matter in which ZRA is being investigated on allegations that the tax collector single-sourced for the job with the influence of some senior Government officials.
Mr Kunda is reported to have issued an illegal statutory instrument last year to sanction collection of ‘inspection fees’ of K360,000 from each transporter by Bradwell International, a company contracted by the Zambia Revenue Authority to manage scanners.
Mr Kunda, who was then Republican vice-president is said to have authorised in August last year, the collection of the money from each transporter even in ports where there were no scanners to pay 85% to Bradwell International. The remaining 15% went to the Government.
Finance and National Planning Minister, Alexander Chikwanda has since revoked Mr Kunda’s statutory instrument and abolished the K360,000 which was being levied on transporters.
Mr Kunda in a separate interview denied the allegation and said the statutory instrument was signed within the law.
And Mrs Chanda said both Mr Mutati and Mr Kunda were appearing as witnesses because of their knowledge and involvement in the matter.
Recently, former ZRA Commissioner-General, Wisdom Nhekairo was warned and cautioned by the security team.
Mr Nhekairo referred further queries to the police.
And the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) has pounced on two senior management officers at Zambia Red Cross Society (ZRCS), who are currently being investigated by the commission for various offences including money laundering activities and seized six motor vehicles from them.
DEC acting public relations officer, Samuel Silomba, who confirmed the development in Lusaka yesterday said the motor vehicles were seized early this week.
In an interview in Lusaka, Mr Silomba said investigations into the matter involving ZRCS senior management officials have reached an advanced stage.
However, he could not name the affected officers but said the nation would be kept informed of any latest developments at Zambia’s largest humanitarian organisation.
Efforts to get a comment from ZRCS Secretary General, Charles Mushitu proved futile as his mobile phone was switched off while another senior officer Mr James Zulu, could not comment referring all queries to Mr Mushitu.
Meanwhile, sources within the society revealed that some motor vehicles belonging to the organisation were being parked and hidden in different locations in Lusaka, where the commission could not find them for fear that they could be seized as well.
The sources said the organisation had been grounded following the sudden closure in December last year after senior managers received immense pressure from the commission to stand aside to pave way for investigations.
The workers complained that management communicated to them through telephone calls and text messages informing them that the organisation has been closed until January 8, 2012 but that was not the case.
The employees said that as things stood, they received information that the humanitarian organisation might not resume operations soon because of the on-going investigations.
The workers also complained that they had not yet received their salaries dating back to September last year and appealed to the government to intervene.
[Times of Zambia]