“banner728.gif"

ABSA employee tells court movement of money in Chimese’s joint account

A BANKER at ABSA has told the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court that K120 million unrebased was deposited into the joint account belonging to former Zambia Air Force ( ZAF) commander, Eric Chimese and his wife Sharon and that Chimese withdrew more than K1.6 million between 2012 and 2014 for building materials, wages and construction.

This is in a matter where Chimese is facing charges of abuse of authority of office, concealing property suspected to be proceeds of crime and jointly charged with Chita Lodge proprietor James Chungu for money laundering.

Elizabeth Mwanza, a former operations manager at Longacres branch, told magistrate Nsunge Chanda that on July 4, 2019, the bank received a search warrant from the Drug Enforcement Commission requesting for 11 vouchers of transactions which were done on the joint account belonging to Chimese and his wife Sharon between 2012 and 2014.

She said she printed out the requested vouchers, which had the names of Chimese and his wife Sharon.

Mwanza, who now operates at ABSA Manda Hill branch, explained that the voucher and statement of March 23, 2012 involved K120 million unrebased.

She said Chimese made withdrawals of the money in question as a K250 million unrebased was withdrawn from the bank on August 13, 2012 for purchasing a plot.

Mwanza said on September 7, 2012, K200 million unrebased was also withdrawn for building materials.

She said the next voucher dated September 25, 2012 had an amount of K200 million unrebased which was withdrawn for contractors.

On October 1, 2013, a K90,000 was withdrawn for wages and building material.

Mwanza said that on October 2, 2013, K58,000 was withdrawn for building materials.

She said on October 4, 2013, K70,000 was withdrawn from the prestige branch at Longacres.

Mwanza further told magistrate Chanda that the next amount which was withdrawn was K72 million unrebased on October 10, 2012 by Zambia Air force squadron pilot Cephas Mudala on Chimese’s instructions.

She said that the next voucher was dated November 5, 2013 and a K28,000 was withdrawn for building.

“The next was a letter of instruction dated October 18, 2014 with the value of K480,000 for purpose of construction, from Chimese. Another voucher of K36,000 dated November 29, 2013 for construction materials was withdrawn by Charles Katilungu on behalf of Chimese,” Mwanza said.

“There was also third party withdrawal of K23,000 acknowledged by Mr Katilungu of NRC no 314514/61/1. Another payment of K50 million unrebased was paid to James Chungu and Mudala on October 10, 2014. Withdrawals by third parties were made under instructions of Chimese who is the account holder.”

During cross-examination by lead defence lawyer Kelvin Bwalya Fube, Mwanza affirmed that there was a document that was attached to Chimese’s file indicating that the K120 million unrebased which was deposited in his account was a gratuity payment.

She explained that Chimese wrote a letter and attached it to the payment voucher indicating that the money was gratuity payment after retiring from ZAF.

When asked if a gratuity payment was legal or illegal, Mwanza said the same was a legal payment.

When asked if the bank reported any suspicious transactions on Chimese’s account to law enforcing agencies, Mwanza responded in the negative.

She affirmed that a gratuity payment was not a kind of transaction that she would report as money laundering.

When asked who deposited the money in Chimese’s account, Mwanza said she could not be in a position to tell .

Trial continues on August 19, 2020.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *