The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has officially handed over recovered proceeds of crime amounting to K65, 330,000 to the state through the Ministry of Finance and National Planning.
The Joint Investigative Team from the Anti-Corruption Commission, Zambia Police Service, Drug Enforcement Commission and Financial Intelligence Centre late last year concluded investigations involving Margaret Chisela Musonda, also called Faith Musonda in which she was found in possession of ZMW 65, 333, 046 and US$ 57, 900 which was discovered in a house in New Kasama.
ACC said at the time that the commission will not institute criminal proceedings against Ms. Musonda because Ms. Musonda has made a full disclosure of the monies in question and has willingly surrendered the same to the State.
Ms. Musonda was charged with Possession of Property Reasonably Suspected to be Proceeds of Crime contrary to Section 71 of the Forfeiture of Proceeds of Crimes Act No.19 of 2010.
Speaking during the handover ceremony in Lusaka on Wednesday morning, Finance Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane said the recovered funds from corruption will be given to the Ministry of Education to be used as additional university bursaries in 2022.
Dr. Musokotwane said the funds will benefit additional 2,232 university students across the nation who were left out on government bursaries in December 2021 due to budget constraints.
The Minister of Finance applauded the joint investigative team recovering suspected illegally-obtained assets and money.
“As you may be aware, the Zambia police carried out an operation in Lusaka’s new Kasama area, on 17th September 2021, were they discovered trunks of cash amounting to k65, 330, 000. In addition, there was also a safe containing us$57,900. Both sums of money were suspected to have been stolen or unlawfully obtained. Ladies and gentlemen investigations into this matter were immediately commenced, and on 21st October 2021, the joint investigative team from the anti-corruption commission, Zambia police service, drug enforcement commission and the financial intelligence centre concluded investigations. The state, therefore, re-possessed these funds after charging the owner with possession of property reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime,” Dr. Musokotwane said.
Dr. Musokotwane explained how the recovered funds will be utilized.
“Regarding the recovered assets in question today, I wish to confirm that the treasury has since officially received them. These funds will be utilised for a prudent and noble cause that fosters the common good of the people of Zambia, especially the youth. The youth are the anchor of this country’s future. The resolve and focus of this new dawn administration is to ensure that public funds are invested in areas that truly benefit society,” he said.
“To compensate for the abolished fees, grants from the government to public schools were significantly increased. These funds for school grants were already transmitted to all the schools before the first term of 2022 opened. This act, though incredibly costly on the part of the government, was in fulfillment of one of the most important commitments that the new dawn government made to the people of Zambia,” Dr. Musokotwane said.
He concluded: “Already, this act alone seems to have changed things for the better because some schools are reporting higher enrollment than before. Today we have high numbers of Zambian children from underprivileged households accessing free education. The benefits to the nation of this improved access to education on the quality of life, individuals’ livelihoods and economic development as a whole is incalculable. Zambian treasury fellow citizens you may also recall from the 2022 budget address, I made a commitment on behalf of the republican president, Mr. Hakainde Hichilema, to tackle the challenges relating to the inadequacy of university bursaries for many of our bright young men and women across the nation. I am here today to do something about that challenge. In that regard, and after comprehensive analysis and wider consultations, your government has decided to use the funds that have been recovered from corruption to provide additional university bursaries in 2022.”