FORMER Justice Minister Given Lubinda has asked the Economic and Financial crimes court to give him enough time to peruse through the documents presented by an Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) arresting officer, Mr. Friday Tembo in readiness for cross-examination.
Lubinda through his lawyer Mr. Makebi Zulu submitted that they needed enough time to question a witness who is an investigations officer and to go through the documents he presented before the court.
In this matter, Lubinda, also Patriotic Front (PF) acting president pleaded not guilty to four counts of possession of property suspected to be proceeds of crime contrary to section 71 (1) of the Forfeiture of Proceeds of Crime Act No. 19 of 2010, of the Laws of Zambia. When the matter came up on Thursday before magistrate Sandford Ngobola sitting under the EFC Court, Mr Tembo who is also an Assistant Director of Investigations testified how parliament paid Lubinda K6, 147, 134.84 as gross net and K3,147,429 as net payment.
Mr. Tembo submitted before the court that after doing the analysis, he discovered that Lubinda’s Kwacha account had only K24, 360.
“In the matter at hand, I wish to indicate that the ACC received a report of abuse of office and corruption in the manner former Minister of Agriculture Mr. Given Lubinda contracted a loan of US$300, 000 using his company director and shareholders called High view Investment. Highview Investment entered into a purported loan agreement with the company called Quindao Cotton Industrial Limited in China, according to Quindao had linked to the company called China Africa Cotton Limited based in Zambia Chipata,’’ he said.
He indicated that he established in his investigations that Highview Company had names of Lubinda with shares of K2, 250 and Namakau Lubinda indicated as directors and shareholders.
Mr. Tembo said he also established that when he looked at the document, he saw that one of the signatories to the agreement was Mr. Wang Shuanyuan of China who was holding 1 percent of the shares.
24-hour border welcome
We welcome the agreement between Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo to start operating border on a 24-hour basis on their common border to ensure the smooth flow of traffic at the various border facilities to enhance trade, not only for two countries but also for other countries in SADC and COMESA region.
We feel this agreement will not only improve the flow of traffic at various border facilities but will also serve as a curtain-raiser to the introduction of a 24-hour economy in this country. With the Zambian government actively considering the prospects of introducing a 24-hour economy such interventions as opening borders 24 hours daily is a step in the right direction. The idea of having borders operating 24 hours between the two countries will boost trade in the region as well.
The Kasumbalesa border will greatly benefit from this arrangement for it is one of the busiest crossing points in this part of Africa.
The long line of trucks that sometimes stretch from Kasumbalesa into Chambishi would be a thing of the past as they are likely to be cleared within days.
But unfortunately, Zambia will not fully maximize the trade benefits that will come as a result of this agreement when Statutory Instrument 76 which restricts public service vehicles from moving a night is in place. We suggest that Government should revoke SI 76 so that cross-border traders can also benefit from the agreement to have the borders open 24 hours daily.
We understand that the reasoning behind the enactment of SI 76 was done in good faith in an effort to reduce the high number of traffic accidents attributed to night travel. The enactment of SI 76 has really affected the business sector since the time it was instituted in 2016 and its revocation would help the cross border traders too as they can travel at their convenience.
It is a well-known fact that the major cause of road traffic accidents in this country are the damaged roads and if this issue was dealt with then the issue of restricting night travel should be taken off the table. It will be a plus if the cooperation between the two countries is extended to developing and upgrading the roads that lead to these border crossing points.
The aim of the agreement to have all the borders operate for 24 hours to quicken the flow of traffic is not going to serve its purpose if the roads between the two countries continue to be in a deplorable state. It will be more beneficial if the leadership in the two countries went a step further to develop the major roads that lead to these border posts which will help in fostering trade in the region. The agreement is a step in the right direction if it is exploited further by developing a good road network that will greatly contribute to the economic development of the two .