It’s unfair to accuse me of engaging in illegal business, GBM tells Economic and Financial Crimes Court
FORMER Minister of Defence Geoffrey Mwamba has denied failing to declare interest and engaging in illicit activities when he served as minister, adding that his companies have been genuinely doing business contrary to claims.
Mr Mwamba has testified that his business dealings are genuine, hence it is unfair to accuse him of engaging in unlawful transactions.
“Our companies have always been genuine in their operations and those that may want to think that we are not sincere in our dealings would be unfair to us,” Mr Mwamba, who is GBM Group of companies chief executive officer, said when opening defence this week.
He further told the Economic and Financial Crimes Court that Arizona Marketing and Food Suppliers Limited, one of his companies, has not less than 10,000 tonnes of maize worth US$4.7 million.
“We are currently sitting on not less than 10,000 tones of maize valued at US$4.7million and maize stored at our warehouse at GBM milling plait. We are not only sitting on maize, we are sitting on more than 100,000 tones of various types of beans,” he said.
Mr Mwamba said in 1995, the same company bought 10 milling plants from Government worth US$1.2 million.
He further narrated that allegations that he failed to declare interest when he was a minister are not true because he had done so.
“I consulted the Attorney Generals chambers via a phone call and they advised me that if i have anyone known to me who wants to supply the ministry(of defence) , i should declare interest in writing addressed to the permanent secretary. A few days later, i did exactly that,” Mr Mwamba, who was defence minister from 2011 to 2013, said.
He said this when he opened his defence in a case he is facing 24 counts of possession of property suspected to be proceeds of crime, eight counts of conflict of interest and money laundering.
In one of the counts, it is alleged that between January 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016, Mwamba, trading as Arizona Marketing and Distributor, possessed US$399,985 through a bank account.
It is further alleged that between January 1 and 31, 2019, the accused possessed US$499,985 through Germins Motorways Limited’s bank account.
Further, allegations are that between March 1 and 31, 2020, the accused had K10 million through his bank account held at Investrust Bank.
It is also alleged that he had another US$670,000 through his bank account, property reasonably suspected of being proceeds of crime, among others.
In his testimony, he narrated how he started engaging in business at age 17 until he later became an acclaimed business executive after investigating im various business ventures.
“I’m Chief Executive Officer of GBM group of companies. In the first place your honour, I’m an accomplished businessman who started business in 1996 when my father left me with a family business called Kasama Modern Bakery to run. Kasama Modern battery was the only battery in Kasama which I was running at an age of about 17. Thereafter, we engaged in trading and in 1997, I decided to leave Kasama and come to Lusaka where I opened or registered a company your called GBM food suppliers limited,” he said
He further narrated that he later bought 40 brand new flit of buses moving across the country.
(Mwebantu, Monday, 20th March, 2023)
Max acquitted of unlawful wounding charges
THE Lusaka Magistrate’s Court has set at liberty Patriotic Front sympathizer Maxwell Chongu alias Max in a case he was facing two charges of unlawful wounding.
Lusaka Magistrate Kawama Mwamfuli acquitted Chongu after finding him with no case to answer.
“I find that a premafacie case has not been made out against the accused person sufficiently to require him to make out a defence, the case against him is hereby dismissed,” Magistrate Mwamfuli said this morning.
She also ruled that the prospection’s evidence, including a medical report, had been discredited by the defence during cross examination.
And speaking to journalists after his discharge, Mr Chongu thanked God for the outcome in the December 2021 case and that he has faith in the Judiciary.
“I never went to social media to complain, I never called anyone names, any administration names, because I believe in the judiciary and with the judgment that has come from there it clearly shows that the picture that was portrayed out there about the name Maxwell Chongu is not the actual person,” he said.
Mr Chongu also commended his lawyers for ably representing him in the matter.
“I am overwhelmed with joy and I cannot say much, it’s not easy telling your wife I may go two or three years but I will come back. I was having sleepless nights preparing for the toughest situation and coming here and being told you have been acquitted.
“I want to thank God and I want to thank my lawyers, Jonas Zimba, Francis Daka, Makebi Zulu and I want to thank my wife who has been with me,” he said.
But he was unhappy with the conduct of law enforcers who investigated the issues and manufacturered charges against him without substantiative evidence.
“I only appeal to the law enforcement agencies that let us not rush in bringing cases to court without sufficient evidence because you are making the courts look biased when they are not, you are making the judiciary look like they are protecting certain individuals when they are not”
This is a matter in which Chongu was accused of wounding Richard Sinonge and Innocent Nyambe.
It was alleged that on March 4, 2017, Chongu allegedly unlawfully wounded Sinonge aged 37 by inflicting a deep cut on his left ankle and Nyambe aged 32 a deep cut on the stomach whilst using a machete.
(Mwebantu, Wednesday, 31st May, 2023)
NGOCC protests security protocol that bar women from entering State House with handbags
NON-Governmental Gender Organisation’s Coordinating Council (NGOCC) has protested State House Security protocols that bar women from entering with their handbags.
NGOCC Chairperson Grace Sinkamba revealed in a statement that some women were barred from accessing State House during the commemoration of African Freedom Day because they had nowhere to leave their handbags.
Ms Sinkamba said this amounts to a human rights infringement on women and the girl child.
“Women carry essentials in such bags that form part of their being based on their biological makeup, including items that are necessary for personal hygiene. It is therefore a gross infringement of their rights for the event security to deny women entry into State House with their bags during the last commemoration of African Freedom Day,” she said.
“We noted several women who were denied entry because they had nowhere to leave their handbags. The invitation did not indicate that women were not to enter with their handbags, nor was there any provision for women to leave their handbags in a safe place at the entrance. This disadvantaged women, some of whom were not able to attend the event at all,” she said.
She said it must be emphasised that handbags are part of a woman’s dress, which forms an integral part of their rights to expression and privacy.
(Mwebantu, Wednesday, 31st May, 2023)
Former Presidential advisor nabbed in connection with possession of articles for terrorism
FORMER President Edgar Lungu’s political advisor Chris Zumani Zimba has been charged and arrested for allegedly being in possession of articles for terrorism.
Police spokesperson Rae Hamoonga said Dr Zimba has been jointly charged and arrested with Given Phiri 37 of unknown house number in Misisi Compound, Marlone Banda 36 of Plot number 811 in 12 miles area and Portipher Gwai 44 of Plot number 194/17 Mutendere Compound in Lusaka.
He said the four are alleged to have been Possession of Articles for terrorism or proliferation purposes Contrary to Section 25 of the Anti- terrorism Act number 6 of 2018 as read with Section 2 of the Amended Anti–terrorism Act number 6 of 2023.
“It is alleged that the accused Jointly and whilst acting together with others unknown did possess offensive articles namely Deep 600 and Halothane and others with intent to endanger life,” he said.
Mr Hamoonga said the incident occurred in February,2020 in Petauke District, in Eastern Province.
He said the four are currently detained in Police Custody and will appear in Court soon.
(Mwebantu, Tuesday, 30th May, 2023)