Probe DBZ witnesses firing

The criminal element in the K14billion Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ) loan scandal to the defunct Zambian Airways should be probed and the investigative wings must take interest in the matter so that Zambians can recover their money.

Political activist Dante Saunders has challenged the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) to take an interest in the dismissal of four key witnesses of the Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ) who testified and won the case in which the bank sued the defunct Zambian Airways to recover the K14 billion loan.

A witness, Caiaphas Mwanakwale Habasonda, Director for Credit and Portfolio Management had testified that Zambian Airways had no capacity to repay because the aircraft offered for security were too old and that the company was heavily indebted and could not therefore pay the DBZ loan.

Inspite of these reservations, the Bank proceeded to advance the K14 billion.

Mr Saunders alleged that it was obvious that there were individuals at the Bank who were doing everything possible to frustrate the matter, so that the outcome could suit their agenda.

He said it was clear just from the beginning that DBZ did not want to win the case that was why the ACC should have taken the interest in the matter.

The four key staff included the company Managing director Abraham Mweenda, Head of Credit- Hepzibah Similenda Namwiindwa Beyani, the Legal Counsel Musenga Andrew Musukwa and Caiaphas Mwanakwale Habasonda, who was director for Credit and Portfolio Management.

Mr Saunders said the ACC should as a matter of urgency put some perspective in this matter because the protestations so far had been without merit or substance.

He said the investigative wings should have powers when dealing with such issues without any intimidation from the appointing authority.

“These investigative wings will only work effectively if they are independent and work without interference, especially in serious matters such as the DBZ where the country had lost colossal sums of money dubiously, and was not paid back,” Mr Saunders said.

He said the judicial reforms would be difficult to achieve if government was dragging the constitution making process, adding that the reforms the government was propagating were either political or cosmetic meant to suit those who were in government.

Mr Saunders said interested parties such as the Judiciary and other institutions must exhibit transparency and expediency in the matter concerning the DBZ vs Zambian Airways.

“Zambians would like to know why they should spend more tax payers’ money chasing after money that has been stolen from them. And the starting point in this entire K14bn Development Bank of Zambia should be the manner in which the money was obtained from the bank,” he said.

Earlier this month, four key witnesses who testified in the K14 billion DBZ case against the defunct Zambian Airways were fired from the bank.

The case was early this year sent back to the High Court by the Supreme Court ruling following an appeal by the defendants JNC Holdings Limited, Post Newspaper Limited managing editor Fred M’membe, Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Mutembo Nchito and Nchima Nchito who contested the Mutuna Judgment that ruled in favour of the Bank.

Former DBZ director Abraham Mweenda testified that government influenced the obtaining of the loan by the airline. He also rejected government’s attempts to withdraw the matter from the courts.