CHISHIMBA Kambwili has charged that his arresting officer Ferguson Kombe, from the Anti-Corruption Commission was being malicious when he charged him with uttering a false document to a public officer because he was not involved in the day-to-day running of his company, Mwamona Engineering and Technical Services Limited.
He claimed that he never uttered the tax clearance certificate from the Zambia Revenue Authority, which was said to be false to any parastatals in order to obtain contracts for his company.
Kambwili was appearing in person following the withdrawal of his robust defence team comprising of Keith Mweemba, Gilbert Phiri and Christopher Mundia, because of his failure to pay for legal services.
This is in a matter where Kambwili, his son Mwamba, and Mwamona Engineering and Technical Services Limited are facing charges of possessing more than K6 million, obtaining pecuniary advantage and uttering a false document to a public officer while two Zambia Revenue Authority officials Lukwesa Musonda and Mulenga Kapilima are alleged to have prepared a false document indicating that Mwamona was tax compliant when not.
In concluding his defence before High Court judge Mwaka Mikalile, who sat as principal resident magistrate, Kambwili rubbished allegations by Kombe that he presented a forged tax clearance certificate to Zesco to obtain a contract worth K8.4 million as his roles were well defined in the power of attorney given to him by his son.
“As the board chairman of Mwamona, I am not involved in going to ZRA or any other person to make applications for tendering jobs. The competent person is the executive director of Mwamona. Whoever thought of charging me with this offence (uttering a false document) was being malicious. I have never been involved in tendering documents to ZRA,” Kambwili said. “I am not involved in presenting documents to any organisation. I am not part of the board of Mwamona or director. My job is to sign board resolutions and chair meetings. In relation to the charge of obtaining pecuniary advantage, where it is alleged that I obtained US $105,220 from China Henan to conduct works on the Mansa-Luwingu road, I am not a board member or director, how do I obtain money from China Henan? Mwamona did the works and it legitimately earned the money.”
Kambwili told the court that cash withdrawals were made from the company’s Atlas Mara account and deposited at ZANACO for operations and payment of salaries.
“Mwamba is my son. I gave him the money as per schedule to basically deposit the money in the accounts. Even during interrogations, I explained to the ACC officers but they did not listen and ended up jointly charging him with me,” said Kambwili.
In cross-examination by Daniel Ngwira and Silumesi Muchula, Kambwili confirmed that among the 39 counts, 12 transactions relate to the transportation business CK transporters which he had been running since 2012.
He said he authorised the withdrawal of money for purposes of honouring the company’s tax obligations but he would not know the amount of money allocated for tax clearance.
Kambwili said ZRA entered into an agreement with Mopani to collect tax from suppliers and contractors on its behalf but Mopani withheld the monies due to a misunderstanding it had with the revenue authority.
Asked if he was privy to the agreement, Kambwili said his knowledge in relation to the details of the agreement was based on hearsay.
He said between 2013 and 2015, he did not come across any documents indicating that Mwamona was tax compliant.
He said he learnt of the anomalies regarding the tax clearance certificate when he was being quizzed by ACC.
“I was not a signatory to all the accounts of Mwamona. I was a signatory to the main account where payments for contracts were being made. The person in charge of the operations account was the accountant,” Kambwili said.
He said he would not know how much profit Mwamona made between 2013 and 2015 as he was recovering the capital he invested in the business.
“I don’t have evidence to show that the transportation business paid its taxes, the issue here is not about taxes,” he said.
Asked by the court if he had anything to clarify, Kambwili said Mopani collected tax returns from Mwamona on behalf of ZRA but it did not remit the money.
Kambwili’s son Mwamba who is a director at Mwamona alongside his mother Carol Chansa told the court that he does not know the source of income for Mwamona.
He said he was only heeding to his father’s orders to deposit money in excess of K180,000 which he was alleged to have possessed illegally in Mwamona’s accounts.
“Money coming into our possession is not strange. My father, who is my co-accused, runs several businesses. He sent me to deposit money into the accounts something that is not strange because I have done it time and again. I told ACC that I was merely sent by my father to deposit the money and I have no knowledge of where it came from,” said Mwamba.
In cross-examination, Mwamba, who confirmed being a director in his father’s company since its incorporation in 2008, said he does not know how Mwamona was awarded the contract by Zesco and that he was not involved in the awarding of the contract as he was in the United Kingdom.
Famous Kabwe, who is representing Mwamona, claimed the company had no direct interface with ZRA and tax clearance certificate transactions were made by a Mr Sibanda.