A WITNESS has told the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court that Zesco paid Mwanona Engineering and Technical Services over K1.6 million as an advance payment guarantee for the construction of houses and toilets at Luzuwa Hydro Power Station.
Zesco senior manager treasury and taxation Regina Musonda Chabala who is in charge of working capital management and taxation management testified before principal resident magistrate Mwaka Mikalile that the total amount of the contract which existed between Zesco and Mwamona was over K8 million.
Chabala said the advance payment was made to Mwamona account held at Finance Bank Zambia Acacia branch.
She said this in a case in which Chishimba Kambwili and four others are facing 39 counts of being in possession of property suspected to be proceeds of crime, amounting to more than K5 million.
Kambwili, his son Mwamba, 25, a business executive, Mwamona Engineering Technical Services, Brano Musonda, a senior inspector at Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) and Mulenga Kapilima, a revenue officer at ZRA, are also accused of making a document without authority, uttering a false document and obtaining pecuniary advantage by false pretences.
Chabala told magistrate Mikalile that on March 24, 2017, she was visited by officers from the Anti Corruption Commission, who were inquiring on a payment that was made to a contractor Mwamona.
She said she searched on the file and found a copy of funds that were made to Mwamona and attached to it was a copy of memo from the project manager, copy of memo from the procurement department and a copy of an advance payment guarantee and an a copy of invoice.
Chabala said that out of the over K8 million of the cost of contract, 20 per cent (K1.6 million) of the sum was paid as advance payment.
The witness said she only found copies of the documents on the file and that she was a custodian of the documents.
Chabala tendered the documents in evidence following a no objection from the defence.
When cross-examined on whether Zesco has ever complained about the payment, which was made to Mwamona, which had offered a service to Zesco, Chabala responded in the negative.
She also agreed that Mwamona was entitled to receive the payment because of the service it offered but failed to confirm whether Mwamona had provided the service because it was another department’s responsibility.
Asked whether there was something wrong she saw on the payment, Chabala said up to the time of payment to date, there was nothing wrong that she noticed.
Chabala failed to confirm how Mwamona was awarded the contract but agreed that it was dully awarded to the company and further told the court that she has never been to Luzuwa Hydro to see the progress of the works.
Another witness, First National Bank Acacia branch administrator Mukuka Chibula, testified that he had no evidence that Kambwili was not compliant with the bank regulations in his platinum account transactions.
He said that looking at the transactions on the bank statement, Mwamba was in court because he deposited money in his father’s account while two other people who also deposited money in Kambwili’s account were not in court.
Chibula further told the court that according to the platinum cheque account, which he produced in court, Mwamba was not an account holder but that it belonged to Kambwili.
The court allowed the production of a platinum cheque account statement showing transactions made on Kambwili’s account after being satisfied that the prosecution had laid sufficient ground to have it tendered into evidence.
Magistrate Mikalile overruled the objection by Kambwili’s lawyers.
The defence lawyers objected to production of the document, arguing that it was not original and had alterations on it, which were not signed for.
But the State urged the court to dismiss the objection by the defence and explained that the provisions of section 8 of the Electronic and Communications Act allows it because the original copy was shredded after it was scanned.