In a significant development in the fight against corruption, a helicopter suspected to be linked to proceeds of crime has been retrieved from Zimbabwe, while another helicopter in South Africa is awaiting repatriation to Zambia. The helicopter, flown by Zambian Air Force (ZAF) pilots, landed at the Lusaka Zambia Air Force Base on the afternoon of the retrieval.
The Director of Public Prosecutions, Gilbert Phiri, and the Director General of the Drug Enforcement Commission, Nason Banda, were present to witness the arrival of the asset. Phiri emphasized that the retrieval of the helicopter, which will serve as part of the evidence, is a significant boost to the ongoing fight against corruption in the country. He further stated that law enforcement agencies are committed to recovering assets suspected to be proceeds of crime that may be hidden abroad.
According to Director General Nason Banda, another helicopter believed to be proceeds of crime is located in South Africa and is scheduled to be flown back to Zambia. Government officials are awaiting the final order from a South African court to repatriate the helicopter, a Bell 430 model purchased for $1.4 million. Phiri described this helicopter as larger and more luxurious compared to the one retrieved from Zimbabwe.
The National Prosecution Authority and the Drug Enforcement Commission initiated a non-conviction based forfeiture process to repatriate the suspected proceeds of crime from South Africa.
During an update on the achievements of the Inter-Agency Collaboration Framework in the fight against economic and financial crimes, Director of Public Prosecutions Gilbert Phiri highlighted the threat that economic crimes and illicit financial flows pose to economic growth and public security. The Justice Minister, Mulambo Haimbe, emphasized the importance of tackling corruption and illicit financial activities to ensure a strong and secure economy.
At the same event, Itumeleng Mongale, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes National Project Officer for Anti-Corruption, announced that an expert will be appointed next month to be based in Zambia. This appointment aims to enhance the effective implementation of partnerships in the fight against corruption.