Mahtani’s aide arrested

AN Aid to Finance Bank Zambia Limited Chairman Rajan Mahtani, Zaheeda Essa has been arrested for perjury, criminal libel and false swearing.

This follows her repudiation of information she gave confirming that Rajan Mahtani used underhand methods to undermine owners of Zambezi Portland Cement who were traumatized by malicious judicial proceedings and have since been deported from Zambia in unclear circumstances.

In statements, Ms Essa revealed that  Dr. Mahtani in his capacity as Chairman of leasing Finance Company instituted false and malicious proceedings against Ventriglia and Valerio Ventriglia owners of Zambezi Portland Cement.

She further revealed that Dr. Mahtani had paid off a number of judicial officers, Police officers to teach the Ventriglias a lesson, whose passport was at one stage taken away.

More importantly Ms. Essa revealed that the loan offered by the leasing Finance company intended for ITAL Terrazzo was actually intended for Zambezi Portland Company and the switch was made as cover up with the Bank of Zambia.

She also revealed that summons to arrest the Ventiglias who were personal guarantors of the facility fowant of alleged absconding debtors were issued in spite of Dr. Mahtani knowing that the Ventriglias were only temporally out of the country to attend to a wedding to which he was also invited and yet the orders for the arrest of the Ventriglias for the absconding debtors were obtained from the deputy registrar of the High Court who was equally rewarded heavily by the leasing company.

Later, however, Ms Essa repudiated the statements and alleged that she was forced into issuing them.

She accused state Counsel Sakwiba Sikota of orchestrating the report.

Essa was arrested yesterday in the afternoon around 15:30 after she was summoned to appear before the probe team for giving false information to a public officer contrary to section 125 of the Penal Code.

Essa was also arrested for other two offences, namely false swearing contrary to section 109 of the Penal Code in relation to the affidavit sworn on the 27th June 2012 and criminal libel contrary to section 191 of the Penal code in relation to the allegations of having forced her to make false affidavits and statements, the allegations of blackmail which she caused to be published in the national media and on the internet.

According to the documents availed to the Daily Nation, Essa complained against Mr. Sikota for professional misconduct on 27 October 2012.

“Ms. Essa approached Mr. Sikota and requested that he be present whenever the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) would be taking statements from her as she had decided to cooperate as she wanted to come out clean as to what Mr. Mahtani had been doing not only to the Mandenakis, Ventriglia and Salama families but also to other business people. She wanted to clean herself because her conscience would not allow her to keep on “lying” on behalf of Mr. Mahtani,” the documents stated.