THE Anti-Corruption Commission has been challenged to tell Zambians if it received the US$1.3 million reported as having been looted when Tedworth Properties illegally reposed in the Bank of Zambia were handed over.
Civil Rights activist Brebner Changala said the Commission should be categorical in accounting for the 12 years of rentals for the properties as ordered by the Lusaka High Court.
Mr Changala said the ACC should be explicit and explain why it was intending to appeal against the judgment, when it was not even an active respondent in the first action, which had gone in its favour because according to him, it did not make judicial sense for the Commission to have been unhappy with the ruling that had restored its role and mandate to manage the seized properties.
He accused the ACC of conniving with the people responsible for the looting and plundering of seized properties by attempting to appeal against a judgment ordering that those involved in the plunder should be investigated and prosecuted.
“They must tell the nation how much had been handed to the commission at the time the properties were handed over by the Bank of Zambia because this was a condition precedent set by the court which ordered the movement of the properties,” Mr Changala said.
It was not enough, he said, for the commission to give a blanket answer in view of the instruction by Judge Philip Musonda that the commission should investigate and prosecute any abuse of the funds from Tedworth Properties.
In 2011, Judge Musonda ordered that Tedworth assets that were abused and looted at the Bank of Zambia should have been surrendered to the ACC because the Central Bank had no role to play in the criminal investigations against Tedworth.
In his ruling, Judge Musonda ordered that…there was need for criminal investigations to be instituted with the help of the Police and the Drug Enforcement Commission.
Judge Musonda ruled that it was factually, legally and intellectually flawed for Mr Mutembo Nchito, the suspended Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and Mr Mwansopelo of the Bank of Zambia to divest the director general of the ACC of the power and give it to the Bank of Zambia where the assets were eventually looted.
The properties, which were being managed by Access Finance, were seized by the Task Force on Corruption and then illegally transferred to the Bank of Zambia from where money in rentals was stolen through various schemes including inflated legal fees and management costs.
Mr. Changala also wanted to know why the ACC intended to appeal against Judge Musonda’s ruling which was in its favour. “The court ordered that properties should be reposed in the ACC and not Bank of Zambia, why then is the ACC appealing?” Mr Changala wondered.
Mr Changala said it was baffling that the ACC could start protecting the Bank of Zambia for illegally possessing assets which should have been legally domiciled at the commission.
He wondered why the ACC was refusing to make people who had looted the seized properties to account by appealing against a court ruling that had ordered that the seized properties be returned to the commission.
“Can the ACC convince me the legal sense of appealing against a court ruling that was in their favour and meant to restore its mandate to be in possession of the seized properties which have since been looted by known people?
The ACC should have been celebrating that its mandate and role in the Tedworth Properties had been restored and in whose interest did the ACC appeal against Judge Musonda’s ruling?
The judgment was about accountability and why is the commission refusing to have people responsible in the looting account? Things are not adding up and the Bank of Zambia has more to explain in this,” Mr Changala said.
Mr Changala demanded that the Commission should state where the money was being banked by the Bank of Zambia and who was managing the account.
More than US$1.3 million in rentals from the illegally seized properties by the defunct Task Force on Corruption disappeared without trace before then High Court Judge Philip Musonda ordered the immediate transfer of the funds to the Anti-Corruption Commission.
The Daily Nation has been informed that in contravention of the High Court order to have known persons who looted Tedworth Properties criminally prosecuted, the ACC appealed against Judge Musonda ruling to the Supreme Court. The people who looted the US$1.3 million were reported to have opened accounts in the Isle of Man and the United States and the ACC which the court ordered to investigate the looting and prosecute the people responsible closed their investigations because the matter was too sensitive apart from involving personalities at the Bank of Zambia.