Prominent Zambian citizens have demanded that Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mutembo Nchito and his business partner Fred M’membe who is owner of the Post Newspaper should immediately settle the K38 billion they obtained from Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ) loan by fraudulent misrepresentation.
The Zambians have petitioned Minister of Finance Alexander Chikwanda and Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini to immediately begin the process of recovering K38 billion owed to DBZ by Nchito and M’membe.
They have stated in their petition that it was a fact that the defunct Zambian Airways through Nchito and M’membe as its directors obtained a loan facility from DBZ of K14 billion and that the amount had since risen to K38 billion due to interest.
In a petition signed by the 23 citizens, the demand is that it was the duty of Chikwanda as Minister of Finance to immediately collect the debt from Nchito and M’membe on behalf of Zambians.
They said it was also the responsibility of Dr Matibini as the Speaker of the National Assembly to take care of national interests at all times in the case of the DBZ loan which has over the years raised a lot of controversy and political consternation.
The petitioners have also demanded the immediate commencement of the process of collecting the money to make it available to other worthy causes.
It was the High Court ruling that Nchito and M’membe as directors of the defunct airline should pay back the DBZ loan which led to the suspension of Supreme Court Judge Philip Musonda and two High Court Judges Nigel Mutuna and Charles Kajimanga.
Subsequently, a tribunal was set up by President Sata headed by Malawian Judge Lovemore Chikopa to investigate the three Judges
The prominent citizens that have petition Chikwanda and Dr Matibini to recover the K38 billion from Mutembo and M’membe include Fr Ccharls Chilinda of St Ignatius Catholic Church, Fr Leonard Chiti who national coordinator, Jesuit Theological Center Reflection (JCTR), Lucky Mulusa who is Solwezi Central Member of Parliament, Brebner Changala, Lusaka civil rights activist, Dante Saunders, political activist, General Malimba Masheke and Beatrice Grillo of NGOCC.
Other prominent citizens that have signed the petition are Ambassador Joe Mwale, Winstone Chibwe, Edward Mumbi, Muhabi Lungu, Everisto Mumba, Mutengulu Wange,Rev Rapheal Nakachinda, Grandwell Mtonga, Richard Kapita Namakau Kabwiku, William Harrington among others.
In the week before the Patriotic Front intra-party violence that saw the pro-Wynter Kabimba faction clash with the Julius Komaki group demanding the expulsion of the Justice Minister, the ruling party Lusaka district acting vice chairman had given Nchito and M’membe a 14 day ultimatum to settle the K38 billion DBZ debt or face citizens arrest.
“We the undersigned citizens and signatories of this petition draw the attention of the Minister of Finance Alexander Chikwanda and Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini that the defunct Zambian Airways obtained a loan facility of K14 billion from DBZ which has risen to K38 billion due to interest. We therefore demand that these monies must be paid to DBZ forthwith without any undue delay,” reads the petion in part.
The petitioners stated that although the directors of the defunct Zambian Airways had appealed to the Supreme Court, the appeal did not act as a stay for DBZ not to recover its money. They said the fact that the money had not been paid, other worthy borrowers in need of capital to establish and enhance their businesses were being denied the opportunity to borrow.