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Sunday, May 22, 2022

About Truth and Deceit: How to tell them Apart

Columns About Truth and Deceit: How to tell them Apart

By Sean Tembo – PeP President

1. The nation is currently gripped with a high stakes drama involving the former provisional liquidator of KCM, Mr Milingo Lungu and his lawyers on one hand, and the Republican President Mr Hakainde Hichilema, Vice President Mutale Nalumango, principal private secretary to the President; Bradford Machila, Special Assistant for Legal Affairs; Christopher Mundia Jr, Justice Minister Mulambo Haimbe, Attorney General; Mulilo Kabesha and Solicitor General Marshal Muchende. Right in the middle of this debacle is the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Lilian Shawa – Siyuni and Director General of the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC), Mary Chirwa – Tshuma.

2. The contest is quite simple really. Milingo Lungu claims that he met with HH and his team and they agreed that the State will withdraw all charges and additionally enter into an Immunity Agreement with Mr Lungu through the National Prosecutions Authority (NPA) which is headed by the DPP, and in return for that gesture the provisional liquidator would resign his position at KCM. On the other hand, President Hichilema has categorically denied these claims and says him and his Government have never given anyone immunity from prosecution, and that the DPP withdrew Milingo’s charges and further entered into an immunity agreement, out of her own volition. The President further wants the Judicial Complaints Commission (JCC) to discipline the DPP for the misconduct of entering into an immunity agreement with Milingo. Suffice to mention that the JCC is now headed by HH’s longtime ally and financier; Vincent Malambo.

3. The big question which the Zambian people want to be answered is; who is telling the truth? Is it President Hichilema and his team or it is Milingo Lungu? Well, given the fact that the alleged meetings that took place between Mr. Milingo Lungu and President Hichilema were dark corner meetings, none of us might be in a position to say with full certainty who is telling the truth and who is lying. But as a rule of thumb; if it doesn’t make sense, then it’s probably a lie. So let us look at what makes sense and what doesn’t in this entire debacle, and then we can subsequently make some conclusions as to who is probably lying and who is probably telling the truth.

4. Firstly, President Hichilema claims that the DPP entered into a nolle prosequi and dropped charges against Milingo Lungu, and further entered into an Immunity Agreement with Milingo, out of her own volition. Let us examine the veracity of this claim. It is common knowledge that every now and then, the DPP would enter a nolle against certain accused persons, so there is nothing unusual about the nolle itself. It is possible that the DPP indeed entered a nolle in the Milingo Lungu matter, out of her own volition. Next, let us examine the Immunity Agreement. I have had the opportunity to read through the said immunity agreement and it gives Mr. Milingo Lungu protection from current and future prosecution regarding any alleged offenses committed during the time that he was KCM provisional liquidator. This is a huge favor which the NPA did for Mr. Milingo Lungu, so the next logical question is; what did Mr Milingo Lungu do for the State to deserve this big favor?

5. Here, we have two differing submissions. Mr Milingo Lungu claims that he was given an Immunity Agreement in return for him resigning as KCM provisional liquidator, whereas President Hichilema and his team claim that Mr. Milingo Lungu resigned as KCM liquidator out of his own volition and not because of the Immunity Agreement. However, a look at the dates shows that Milingo resigned as KCM liquidator a day after the immunity agreement was signed. It is also common knowledge that the State had made multiple attempts to remove Mr Milingo Lungu as KCM provisional liquidator, and all the attempts had failed. The most recent such attempt was a suspension slapped on Milingo Lungu by the Official Receiver, and then it was later discovered that the Official Receiver had no powers to suspend a court-appointed provisional liquidator.

6. So it makes sense that the State would entice Mr Milingo Lungu to resign as KCM provisional liquidator by offering him an Immunity Agreement. Remember the rule of thumb; if it doesn’t make sense, then it’s probably a lie. Milingo Lungu resigning a day after signing the Immunity Agreement makes sense. President Hichilema claiming that Milingo Lungu resigned out of his own volition does not make sense. The DPP entering into an Immunity Agreement with Milingo Lungu, at the request of President Hichilema makes sense. The DPP doing so at her own volition does not make sense. She could have just entered a nolle prosequi and ended there. Why would she go further and even give Milingo immunity from any current or future prosecution?

7. But what about the DEC’s Mary Chirwa. Where does she fit into all this? Immediately after the DPP discharged Milingo through a nolle, DEC officers were waiting outside the court and re-arrested Milingo on the same charges. Was Mary Chirwa merely discharging her ordinary law enforcement duties when she re-arrested Milingo Lungu, or she was part of President Hakainde Hichilema’s ploy to embarrass the DPP and portray her as corrupt for entering a nolle prosequi against Milingo and also giving him immunity from prosecution?

8. Here again, let us use our rule of thumb; if it doesn’t make sense, then it’s probably a lie. It is common cause that the NPA works hand in hand with various law enforcement agencies in the discharge of their mandate, including the Zambia Police Service, Drug Enforcement Commission, Anti-Corruption Commission etcetera. When the DPP decides to enter a nolle in a particular matter, it is generally because the NPA believes that there is insufficient evidence to proceed to trial.

Therefore, the natural thing that any law enforcement agency would do when the DPP enters a nolle in any of their matters, is to engage the office of DPP and find out what further investigations would need to be undertaken in order to acquire the additional evidence needed to re-instate and prosecute the matter. But Mary Chirwa’s DEC did not do that. They decided to just re-arrest Milingo Lungu right at the entrance of the Courtroom, without any engagement with the NPA. Plus DEC officers do not, as a matter of routine, linger around the magistrates court so that they can re-arrest any accused person who might be given a nolle by the DPP. That means Mary Chirwa knew that the DPP would enter a nolle prosequi against Milingo Lungu on that particular day and at that particular time, and hence she planted her officers there. For a very specific purpose; to make the re-arrest as dramatic as possible.

9. It is also common cause that President Hichilema and his team have been looking for ways and means of getting rid of the DPP and installing their own preferred person. Therefore, it appears that Mr Milingo Lungu’s version of events is more credible than that of President Hichilema. It is evident that President Hichilema and his team saw an opportunity to kill three birds with one stone. Firstly, their ploy would allow them to get rid of Lillian Shawa – Siyuni as DPP. Secondly it would allow them to get rid of Milingo Lungu as KCM provisional liquidator and thirdly, it would allow them to still prosecute Milingo Lungu, once the current DPP is gotten rid of using our man, who is waiting at the JCC. Or so they thought.

10. Personally l do not know whether Lilian Shawa – Siyuni is a good DPP or a bad DPP. But one thing l know for sure is that no DPP deserves to be removed from office using such machinations. In fact, no officer of a country that is a constitutional democracy such as Zambia, deserves to be gotten rid of using such a ploy. If President Hakainde Hichilema and his team want to get rid of Lilian Shawa – Siyuni as DPP, then they need to find other means and ways because the current scheme has been exposed. The President is in a hole right now. And the first thing that any reasonable person should do when they are in a hole is to stop digging. The more that HH and his team pursue this scheme, the deeper the hole they will dig for themselves. Free advice.

14 COMMENTS

  1. Sean talks about truth and deceit, but he hasn’t got the faintest idea himself how to tell them apart. By the time it’s time for the next election, people will only remember him for the fairy tales he lives.

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  2. You think too much. You don’t have to go to such length for a straight forward story. Milingo Lungu’s statement is on oath and in Court while the rest are making unqualified noise. I want to see their response in Court, nothing has been filed yet.

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  3. #2 Ayatollah….yes we would like to know who dangled the carrot that made Milingo Lungu to resign his position and how enticing was this carrot.

  4. I mean. you say you have read court documents, which implies you have heard one-sided story. And the reasonable thing to do is to wait for the other side to provide their point of view, For that matter, Hakainde has also said he will provide a press conference on monday. One would think, hey lets wait for those two opportunities and thereafter. make a qualified judgment or make an opinion.
    ALAS ! As usual, the weakest Zambian Politician decides to SPECULATE, thats where he thrives !! Embarrassing. This is not right, these cant be leaders, but ARMCHAIR critics,

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  5. Full of false assumptions…………

    That’s why he gets no votes…….

    In the same vain , he is trying to be in the middle ground but already accuses the president of lieing……..

    I would rather belive GRZ……….there are too many men of integrity to be dragged into lies…….

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  6. I usually refuse to be involved when someone tells me that we prepare what to say…. because if I have nothing to hide I don’t need to prepare what to say… planning a press conference on an issue five days in advance is trying to ensure that can of worms is not spilled. There’s a lot of issues going at KCM like appointing a new administration under a relative of some top man. Just wait.

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  7. This upnd government is a disgrace…Some people lies are in they DNA you can’t change them…it’s normal for them.. Very disappointing

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  8. My question is why does Milingo need immunity from prosecution?
    Immunity is for presidents but can be removed if there’s criminality
    Like in the case of Kafupi

  9. President Mr Hakainde Hichilema, Vice President Mutale Nalumango, principal private secretary to the President; Bradford Machila, Special Assistant for Legal Affairs; Christopher Mundia Jr, Justice Minister Mulambo Haimbe, Attorney General; Mulilo Kabesha and Solicitor General Marshal Muchende…………………………Interesting!

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