A SQUADRON pilot at Zambia Air Force has told Lusaka magistrate Nsunge Chanda that he supervised construction works for a two-storey building and a gym in Ibex Hill area allegedly belonging to former ZAF commander Lieutenant General Eric Chimese. Meanwhile, the State has dropped two charges of abuse of authority of office against Lt Gen Chimese by entering a nolle prosequi. Chimese is charged with two counts of abuse of authority of office and two counts of money laundering. In another count, his wife Sharon, and Chita Lodge director James Chungu, are jointly charged with him for money laundering.
When the matter came up yesterday before Lusaka magistrate Nsunge Chanda, Chief State Advocate Gamariel Zimba informed the court that the State had decided to discontinue two charges by way of a nolle prosequi. In his testimony before magistrate Chanda, Major Caphus Mudala said in February this year, DEC’s anti-money laundering investigations unit approached him to inquire over the role he played at a property in Ibex Hill.
He said he was asked to give a statement on how he was involved in that property on First Street opposite ZAF Twin Palm. Mudala said in 2013, Lt Gen Chimese assigned him to supervise works at the property.
“I supervised the casual workers that were engaged in the construction works and also ensured that there was adequate material,” he said.
“I would ensure that I outsource manpower that was required for the construction of a double storey house, a gym and a servant’s quarter.”
Maj Mudala explained that his role was to ensure that the works were ongoing and he would give feedback to Lt Gen Chimese. He said by December 2014, the double storey building was complete but some interior designs, such as tiling, painting and fitting of bathtubs, were still pending. He said the communication that he had with Lt Gen Chimese was for the payment of workers and purchase of material.
“I would pay the workers when I get the money from General Chimese. I would also get funds for the materials from the general,” Maj Mudala explained.
He told the court that the said property belonged to Lt Gen Chimese because he was the one issuing instructions regarding to the works on it. He further testified that he supervised the workers for two years but in December 2014, he went for a flying course in South Africa and handed over the works to Maj Maseka. During cross-examination by the defence lawyer Kelvin Fube if there were general workers like plumbers and electricians from ZAF, Maj Mudala responded in the negative. When asked if the property was confused with that of Chita Lodge, Maj Mudala said he would not know if the property in question belonged to Chita Lodge as he did not receive instructions from Chita Lodge but from the Lt Gen Chimese. When asked if Chimese had entered into a lease with Chita Lodge, the witness denied.
According to documents read by Maj Mudala, the contract was entered between two Zimbabweans – Tendai Joe, Zechameta Makini – and Chita Lodge.
“The contract was for the construction of a main house, a gym, bar and wall fence in Ibex Hill’s Central Street, plot number remainder of subdivision Q farm number 2303 and the other one in the same area for the construction of nine apartments in fourth street of remainder of subdivision Q number 2303 and Chita lodge would provide all material supplies and equipment unless otherwise agreed and all materials would be of good quality,” read the contractual documents.
When asked if he had a receipt as proof of the material he purchased, the witness said he did not.
“My assignment was to pass through the construction site and ensure that works were ongoing,” Maj Mudala said.
Allegations in count one are that between June 2013 and June 2018, Lt Gen Chimese, being a public officer at the time, namely ZAF commander, engaged employees of ZAF to do works on his private property situated on plot number 2303/Q in Ibex Hill, an arbitrary act which was prejudicial to the interests of the government of Zambia.
In count two, it is alleged that Lt Gen Chimese on the same dates in Chilanga district, engaged ZAF employees to do works on his private property situated on Farm number 4301/31 in Eureka Area.
It is also alleged in count three that Lt Gen Chimese and Chungu between January 2012 and February 2019, whilst acting together, concealed and disguised the rights with respect to ownership of nine flats, a single storey building, one guest wing and one semi detached cottage situated on Farm number 2303/Q in Ibex Hill, knowing or having reason to believe that the said properties were proceeds of crime.
And in the last count, it is alleged that Lt Gen Chimese and his wife Sharon between January 2012 and February 2019, in Chilanga district, whilst acting together, possessed two houses situated on Farm number 4301 in Eureka Area, knowing or having reason that the said properties were proceeds of crime.
Trial continues on June 26.