AN investigations officer has insisted that the property that Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development Ronald Chitotela concealed was reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime. This is in a matter where Chitotela, Gregory Chibanga, Diris Mukange and Brut Holdings limited are facing charges of concealing and possessing property suspected to be proceeds of crime.
When the matter came up for cross-examination, ACC investigations officer Christopher Siwakwi told Lusaka magistrate David Simusamba that the US$300,000 which was transferred to Andrew and Partners’ account by China Harbour and at the same time claimed by Brut Holdings limited was reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime.
“I suspected the money of being proceeds of crime because it was used to purchase two properties in Makeni and Ibex Hill because it was also indicating in a letter that Brut Holdings had written to Andrew and Partners,” Siwakwi said.
Siwakwi maintained that his suspicions were strengthened because the letter indicated that the property, which he had already discovered was under Chitotela’s control, was mentioned and that the houses were registered in the names of Diris Mukange, who is a niece of Gregory Chibamga, a managing director of Brut Holdings limited.
When asked if he investigated the relationship between Chibanga and Mukange by the defense lawyer, Siwakwi said it was not important to verify whether Mukange was Chibanga’s niece as it was not relevant because she said Chibanga registered the houses in her name because he had so many credits.
He said according to his golden question regarding to how Brut Holdings knew that RDA would award a contract to China Harbour, his suspicions were strengthened that the US$300,000 was proceeds of crime because Brut Holdings had no capacity to conduct feasibility studies on the Kawambwa -Mporokoso road.
He told magistrate Simusamba that he was still puzzled that Brut Holdings was demanding the same money that China Habour have to Andrew and Partners.
Siwakwi said it was not possible for Chitotela to give a house to Mukange when they were not related, which showed that the property was concealed as he who hides something cannot be linked to the property being concealed. He said Chibanga, using the company, disguised the real owner of the houses and money. He also told the court that though Chitotela’s wife leased the house in Ibex Hill to Rockview University, Chitotela had interest in the property. The matter comes up on July 8, for ruling on whether or not Chitotela and his co-accused have a case to answer as the prosecutions has closed it’s case.