AN ELECTRICIAN has told the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court that procedure was not followed when he was deployed to install fittings at the premises allegedly owned and concealed by former Zambia Air Force commander Lieutenant General Eric Chimese. This is in a matter where Lt Gen Chimese is accused of abuse of authority and money laundering, while his wife Sharon and Chita Lodge Limited managing director James Chungu are facing one count of money laundering. Martin Chanda told court that his supervisor did not indicate in the company records that he was installing electrical fittings at Lt Gen Chimese’s alleged premises.
When asked about the number of rooms that each flat contains by defence lawyer Mark Haimbe, Chanda insisted there were three bedrooms. Below is the verbatim of the cross-examination.
Q: How many bedrooms were in each chalet?
A: There were three bedrooms.
Q: When you went into the nine chalets, did you show the court the fourth bedroom?
A: The fourth one you are talking about was not a bedroom.
Q: Did you describe the laundry court?
A: I didn’t but the court found the laundry.
Q: How many times did you visit the properties in Ibex to do the works?
A: I was going there on how frequent the material was coming.
Q: Your description was different from what the court found at the site because you said the houses were fenced in three – three and not three – six ?
A: It was what I described.
Q: Did the Director of works Eric Bwalya take you to the premises?
A: I went with the Airforce vehicle though I don’t know the name of the driver and at the site, I found Senior officer Maseka. Mr Bwalya took me to see the general. The vehicle was an Airforce vehicle, I wouldn’t know which department it belonged to.
Q: when you did these works, was it a service or you were on duty?
A: I was on duty.
Q: When giving you the Airforce vehicle, was procedure followed under the maintenance department?
A: I wouldn’t know if the procedure was followed when assigning me the vehicle, I am not the MTD (manager transport department).
When asked if the officer-in-charge of the maintenance department recorded that he was working at the premises in Ibex Hill by defense lawyer Kebby Wishimanga, Chanda responded in the negative.
Q: Can you tell us the procedure that you are supposed to follow before you meet the commander.
A: As a civilian, you cannot go and see the commander alone. You have to go with a senior officer. I never signed a log-book to indicate that I visited the commander (Lt Gen Chinese).
Q: Since you don’t have a job card, there are no remarks by the maintenance officer that you did works at Ibex?
A: There is no letter of deployment from the chief of technical works, it was a verbal contract.
Q: So during the works, you were absent from work, the ZAF base? I used to report for work, and then I would go to the premises, I would say I was present.
Q: You were asked whether or not you were paid for the works?
A: I was not paid and I have not followed up the payment.
Q: According to the certificate of title, Chita Lodge Limited incorporated in Zambia is the tenant of the property, isn’t it?
Q: Are you aware that Chita Lodge engaged contractors?
A: I am not aware.
Q: The contract is saying nine units, so you would confirm that we found nine units?
Q:The contract said Katitwo and Tendai (Zimbaweans) were responsible for labour charges?
A: I am not aware, I was not approached by them.
Q: It’s not true that what you are claiming took place because there is no job card?
A: what I am saying took place, I just don’t have documents.
And in re-examination by State prosecutor Gamaliel Zimba, Chanda told the court he had a verbal discussion with Lt Gen Chinese.
“There was no written document for me to leave the base, I was duty bound. The issue of being present I would report for work and go to do works at the same premises,” explained Chanda.
And Peleko Muyunda, a businessman, told court that his friends and himself were engaged by the Zimbabwean contactors, Tendai and Katiwo, to lay a foundation at the premises in Ibex Himm which allegedly belong to Lt Gen Chimese.
The 30-year-old told court that after the foundation was laid, Cephas Mudala approached him and asked if he could be a caretaker to which he agreed.
Muyunda said Maj Mudala took him to town and bought him a mattress and a cellphone, which he would use to communicate when there was a problem.
He said it was agreed that he would be paid a K600 every month.
“I asked Maj Mudala, who owned the property but he told me he was the a supervisor of the construction works and that the owner of the property was ZAF commander Lieutenant General Eric Chimese and I continued working as I was paid accordingly,” he said.
“My work was to take care of building material namely tiles, bath tubs , chandeliers, and down lights which were stored in three containers.”
He said the contractors instructed them to start working on the storey building which comprised of two bedrooms on the ground floor and three bedrooms on the first floor.
The witness said that after the house was complete, they proceeded to construct a servants’ quarter and a gym. Muyunda narrated that when the storey building was complete, Lt Gen Chimese told him and other builders that he had purchased another plot and he wanted them to go and clear it. He said construction works begun in 2012 and completed in 2014. Muyunda said Chimese used to pass through the construction site to check the progress of the works.
“When Major Mudala went to school, we remained with Colonel Maseka, who became the supervisor of the construction works taking over from major Mudala. The people that did the works in Ibex were employed by the Zambia Air Force in 2015,” said Muyunda.