THE Anti-Corruption Commission in Lusaka has arrested Housing and Infrastructure Development minister Ronald Chitotela and slapped him with nine fresh corruption-related charges. The minister appeared at the Commission’s office in Lusaka around 09:00 hours this morning and vanished in the building before reappearing around 13:00 hours.
Police had sealed off the Commission’s premises the entire time Chitotela had been inside. The AA and Chitotela’s lawyer James Mataliro confirmed that the minister had been arrested and slapped with nine charges. Mataliro said his client had been charged with concealing property suspected to be proceeds of crime while the seven other counts were being in possession of proceeds of crime connected to withdrawals of monies ranging from K10,000 to K20,000 from an account.
Mataliro said the minister had been released on bond.
“Of course, my client denies the charges so we will meet in court where the details will come out,” Mataliro said.
The ACC, through spokesperson Timothy Moono, announced that Chitotela had been charged with nine counts of possession and concealing of property suspected to be proceeds of crime.
“Honourable Ronald Chitotela, 47, has been charged with one count of Concealing Property suspected of being proceeds of crime, and 8 counts of possession of property suspected to be proceeds of crime contrary to Section 71 subsection (1) of the Forfeiture of Proceeds of Crime Act Number 19 of 2010,” according to Moono, who also said the minister was released on bond and would appear in court soon.
In February, the Commission arrested the 47-year-old Pambashe member of parliament on similar charges and is currently appearing in the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court. Chitotela’s arrest sparked calls for President Edgar Lungu to dismiss him but the Head of State said he would not do such thing because. As Chitotela left the ACC, he remained mute and ignored questions about what had transpired inside the building whilst he was there. Currently in court, Chitotela is answering to a charge of Concealing Property suspected of being proceeds of crime contrary to Section 71 subsection(1) of the Forfeiture of Proceeds of Crime Act Number 19 of 2010.
Details in the first count are that on unknown dates but between the 1st day of July, 2016 and the 30th day of October 2018 in Lusaka District, Chitotela did conceal a property namely lot number 148 of farm 50A situated in Makeni, Lusaka, disguised in the names of Diris Mukange, property reasonably suspected of being proceeds of crime.
Details in the second count are that on dates unknown but between the 1st day of July, 2016 and the 30th day of October 2018, in Lusaka District, Chitotela did conceal a property namely the remaining extent of Subdivision A of lot 22183/M situated in Ibex Hill Lusaka, disguised in the name of Diris Mukange, property reasonably suspected of being proceeds of crime.