NATIONAL Democratic Congress says the Anti-Corruption Commission should investigate former Zambia Air Force commander Lt General Eric Chimese over allegations of engaging in criminal activities during his seven-year stay as commander.
Defense minister Davies Chama has confirmed that Lt General Chimese has been relieved of his duties.
NDC secretary general Mwenya Musenge stated yesterday that his party had information that Lt Gen Chimese might have been involved in a number of corrupt activities during his reign at the helm of the Zambia Air Force (ZAF).
“The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has welcomed the decision by President Edgar Lungu to dismiss Zambia Air Force (ZAF) commander General Eric Chimese. We urge the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to immediately probe General Chimese. We have in mind the US$62 million contract for the supply of military uniforms that Gen Chimese single sourced on August 11, 2017. As NDC, we have information that Gen Chimese single sourced a local firm BHB contractors to supply uniforms to ZAF at an inflated price,” Musenge stated.
“BHB is a local company situated at Plot number 407 Independence Avenue, Lusaka. Gen Chimese single sourced this firm to supply expensive military regalia when a Kenyan firm, PURMA, was ready to supply the same uniforms at US$14 million. We urge the ACC to go further and probe all the civil servants, including a permanent secretary who is linked to the US$62 million scandal. Brigadier General Wilfred Mbewe was chief of supply at ZAF when this deal was dubiously signed.”
He stated that Brig Gen Mbewe and others opposed the deal but was removed from his office by Lt Gen Chimese.
“A number of officers such as Brigadier General Chibesa who was in charge of finance were unceremoniously retired for opposing this deal. Gen Chimese has left ZAF in a mess and should be probed immediately so that his name is cleared,” Musenge stated.
And Musenge stated that President Lungu should also fire Zambia Army Commander Paul Mihova.
“The NDC further urges President Lungu to fire Zambia Army Commander [Lt General] Paul Mihova. Gen Mihova is involved in a lot of dubious activities at the army. As NDC, we have the full details of the proxy that Gen Mihova is using in South Africa to loot Zambia Army resources,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Musenge stated that the Zambian government should expel Congolese fugitive politician Moise Katumbi from the country.
“The NDC is urging the Zambian government to immediately expel Congolese fugitive politician Moise Katumbi from the country. Mr. Katumbi is a danger to Zambia’s peace and security. The continued stay of Mr. Katumbi in Zambia risks straining the long warm bilateral ties that Lusaka and Kinshasa have enjoyed for ages. Mr. Katumbi is wanted in the DRC for a number of offences, which we do not want to discuss,” he stated.
“The Congo has its own internal problems that can best be resolved by the Congolese people. It seems the Zambian government has given ‘political asylum’ to Mr. Katumbi. We challenge our authorities to explain why they are hosting Mr. Katumbi. They should come out clean on this. Zambia cannot afford to get involved in a diplomatic brawl with the Congo. The consequences can be too dire. Zambia and the Congo share the largest common border and its people are one. Yes, Mr. Katumbi might be a generous and wealthy political leader, no wonder he has been given state security in Zambia. But for the sake of peace, let him leave Zambia.”
Musenge stated that Zambia and the PF should draw lessons from history.
“In 1998, Zambia was the target of an attack by a neighbouring country. INDENI and TAZAMA were almost bombed because we were accused of hosting late UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi. It had to take late Congolese leader Desire Kabila to fly to Ndola airport to quell what was going to be a war with another country. As NDC, we feel Mr. Katumbi is a danger to this country. It’s so nauseating that Zambian authorities have already forgotten how Mr. Katumbi was used by then president Fredrick Chiluba in some illicit activities,” he stated.
“Mr. Katumbi owned chani fisheries and we haven’t forgotten his dealings with the MMD government at the time. As NDC, we find it unfair that Mr. Katumbi is now being paraded as a PF cadre l, signing praises for the regime. He shouldn’t allow us to open the Pandora’s Box. Recently, Zambia hosted DRC President Joseph Kabila here. We were informed through State House that the visit by Mr. Kabila was a plus to Zambia. This is because the visit furthered and codified the ties between the two countries. Authorities in Kinshasa will definitely react sharply on the double standards that we seem to be exhibiting as a nation.”
Musenge stated that although Katumbi had business associates in Zambia, using the country to launch a scathing political battle with a sovereign state was immoral.