Thursday, April 18, 2024

Witness tells Fast Track Economic and financial crimes court how ZAMPOST misappropriated Funds

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An Accountant in the office of the Accountant General has told the Ndola Magistrate Court how ZamPost misappropriated the Social Cash Transfer funds by instructing the bank to first deposit the funds in a fixed deposit account.

Elijah Kapotwe, 53 of Lusaka, a principal accountant at the Ministry of Finance said that it is only the controlling officer who is responsible for the identification for investment of funds appropriated under the Ministry of Community Development.

In this matter, McPherson Chanda, Best Mwaichi and Isaac Kamwimba appeared before the fast track Economic and financial crimes court under Magistrate Kaunda Sakwanda.

In December 2021 the Drug Enforcement Commission and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) arrested former Postmaster General, Macpherson Chanda and two directors for corrupt practices involving over K300 million.

The trio, in their capacities as Postmaster General, Director of Finance and Director of Operations, respectively, were said to have unlawfully diverted social cash transfer funds amounting to K335,108,834.00 without lawful authority.

ZANIS reports that in all the counts, Chanda and Mwaichi are charged with theft by public servant contrary to Section 265 as read with section 277 of the penal code.

Chanda, Mwaichi and Kamwimba all pleaded not guilty to the charges respectively.

When the matter came up for continued trial, Kapotwe told the court that funds for social cash transfer are appropriated by

Parliament to be disbursed to social beneficiaries by following the social protection guidelines.

“The social cash transfer funds are appropriated by parliament to be disbursed to social benefits to beneficiaries identified through the social protection guidelines and were not appropriated as investment funds.

“And therefore, where the controlling officer under the ministry of community development needed to apply the funds as investment funds, she was required that the Secretary to the treasury take such investment,” said Kapotwe.

He said he reviewed the status of the investment of the funds which were generated by ZAMPOST and some irregularities existed and that the social cash transfer was appropriated to the Ministry’s edge of revenue and expenditure.

Kapotwe said the person mandated to oversee the execution of such funds was the Permanent Secretary as the only officer mandated to request for the investment of funds appropriated.

Kapotwe said the first irregularity is that the letters were generated by ZAMPOST and not the controlling officer and second being that of misapplication of the interest earned.

He added that the arrangement between ZAMPOST and the ministry of community development, was that ZAMPOST was an agent to disburse the social cash transfer funds to beneficiaries and was to be paid commission

And a former assistant manager operations at ZAMPOST Moses Musonda said he was a signatory based on instructions.

Musonda testified that the authority came from Postmaster General, Director Finance and Director of Operations.

Magistrate Sakwanda then adjourned the matter to March 29, 2022 for continuation of trial.

The former ZAMPOST postmaster General and his co- accused are charged with 13 counts of theft by public servant.

16 COMMENTS

  1. What I see is a case of misapplication of funds and not theft. It seems they’ve been wrongly charged. No further comment for fear of being in contempt.

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  2. And what pains me is PF took taxpayers money and paid off the looted funds meaning there are other people involved in this…imagine McPherson Chanda walked

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  3. Ayatollah – Missappropriation of funds without lawful authority has only one motive and its theft…please dont sugarcoat issues here these are social fund we are talking about here.

  4. #4 Tarino Orange, acquaint yourself with this case. It’s the same one on which Emerine Kabanshi was arrested. The problem with the UPND is that they want to look as if they’re more clever than those before them. MacPherson and his team received that money and bought personal-to-holder vehicles. These vehicles were registered in the name of ZAMPOST, so the case of theft can’t stand. They were the signatories to that account. ZAMPOST, like other parastatals is autonomous and it’s not the PS that signs on that account. Misapplication of funds in GRZ Financial Regulations isn’t a crime but an administrative disciplinary matter. That’s why those mentioned by the Auditor General don’t go to prison. Do you understand what I’m saying? KZ, TELL THEM

  5. # 7 Ayatollah, Government funds were entrusted to ZAMPOST meant for Social Cash Transfer purposes. ZAMPOST institution was identified by government as a quasi-government body was appropriate to carry out that task on behalf of government. The Director General and the named senior officials were aware of the source of funds and task with responsibility before them. They misappropriated the funds, when asked they had no answer to the enquiry of the whereabouts of the funds. The theft of these funds risked Zambia’s diplomatic standing with the donor country. Similarly, this is how Emily Kabanshi was imprisoned. Thieves deserve to be jailed.

  6. #4 Tarino, when these people get acquitted you’ll start to insult the Judge yet it’s the charges that are wrong. For example, if you’re given money to buy fertilizer for the Company then you buy fuel for the same Company it means you’ve misapplied the funds. It can’t be said you’ve stolen when you didn’t have any person gain. You’ll be disciplined for misapplying the funds not for theft. This is why these guys weren’t arrested in the first place because the DPP saw that there was no theft. Now it seems she’s being forced by the UPND. No wonder there are those rumours about her. She’s not supporting PF but just doing her job. UPND will be embarrassed

  7. #8Muna, ZAMPOST is 100% owned by GRZ, Emerine was charged with a case of abuse of office because she didn’t consider private bidders but settled for a Company that’s owned by GRZ. Her case is still in Court on appeal. I have said my part. We’ll meet here again when the case is disposed of. Have you asked why these guys weren’t arrested and charged together with Emerine?

  8. Me i want hear about the MOH sagger first cos PF cadres here were clever “ah there is no medicines in Hospitals”, meanwhile they are the ones that created ghost Hospitals and Clinics and most medicines went there. And also they recruited there own relatives before even GRZ could start the nation wide exercise. i told people on this platform that GRZ has to clean the mess first before supplying the new meds,and cadres were like No! where is the medicine, after they new already there under hand plan of blocking all suplies or supplying fake medicines which GRZ revoked and thats what caused the shortage(If there was a shortage at all). The worst now would be to find that these PF stoogies staged all of this, and also they could not be qualified for their Bembalized MOH flood of directors.

  9. Ayatollah – You seriously need to look deep in yourself if you don’t see a crime here…I am even shocked that you responded we simply cannot reduce corruption with such mindset as yours.

  10. Where are the internal and external Auditors to pick up any discrepancies prior to such deliquency from occuring? Any institution should have controlling systems in place from deliquency taking place. Something is not right here. Don’t you think?

  11. Where are the internal and external Auditors to pick up any discrepancies prior to such deliquency from occuring? Any institution should have control measures in place from deliquency taking place. Something is not right here. Don’t you think?

  12. Public financial statements must be published on public plaftorms together with auditor general reports on a quarterly basis, in order for any citizen to have access to such. Citizens have the prerogative to see financial reports in their best interest to see how the public servants are handling our taxes for the benefit of all citizens. This is what they call transparency and accountability. This is what we citizens should demand to see than only attacking our public servants, we voted for but we just leave them to do as they please. Lets find solutions to these problems than only attacking these officials. If they do not deliver, we vote them out – thats all. We must demand and ask questions. If no answers are coming forth – next election, they are out. The next person will have to…

  13. So these guys took the 300million put it into a fixed amount then misappropriated the interest. But we want to know exactly how the interest was used. Was it used for personal benefit or grz benefit that’s when we can know if indeed there was theft or not.

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