Friday, June 26, 2009

Police arrest 5 in copper theft case

February 18, 2009

Ndola Police have arrested five people, who include a Congolese businessman, in connection with the theft of 15 tonnes of copper concentrates and cobalt ore worth K105 million. The Congolese businessman, who is the key suspect, led the police where copper was kept after he was arrested from his Hillcrest residence.
Those arrested along with the businessman are three security guards and another man.

According to Masala police station officer-in-charge, Christopher Chipasha, the security guards connived with the Congolese businessman to steal the copper. As the copper was being off-loaded at Masala from a hired truckat the station Chipasha said the five suspects would appear in court.

The contraband belonging to Sub Sahara Gemstone Exchange under Polytra Company was stolen between January 22 2009 around 16:00 hours and the following day at 08:00 hours. The Copper was recovered in Kitwe’s industrial area February 17. The Congolese businessman is in police custody while others are on police bond. Times of Zambia)

It's sabotage says government

June 19, 2009
Energy and Water Development Permanent Secretary Peter Mumba says June 18 government suspects recent fires which have burnt Zesco installations were caused by sabotage. The recent fire destroyed a 11 kilowatt Coventry Street power distribution unit in Lusaka reducing it to a shell leaving parts of the city dark.

Mumba said it was worrisome for the fires to occur within a short period of time on the fire equipment and suspected that some people wanted to paralyse Government and Zesco operations.

“I refuse to believe that this fire is an accident but I suspect it’s sabotage. I think there must be someone causing all this damage to the Zesco equipment,” said Mumba when he inspected the destroyed power distribution unit.

The affected areas included the entire industrial area, part of the city centre, Villa Elizabetha residential area, Emmasdale Township and parts of Great North Road. The cause of the fire has not yet been established but the damage caused was estimated at US$500,000.

Mumba, who was accompanied by Zesco senior management officials, said the gutted unit was the nerve centre for the entire industrial area and asked law enforcement agencies to institute an investigation to establish the cause of the fire. He said it would take about two days to work on the damaged machines and restore normal power supply to the affected areas.

Mumba regretted the inconvenience caused considering that not long ago, there was another blackout caused by the gutting of a transformer at Lusaka’s Leopards Hill power station. Zesco engineers said some customers were switched to other lines but expected increased load-shedding to avoid overloading the system.

Meanwhile, Zesco director of customer services Teddy Mwale has said intentions by
his company to increase tariffs to 66 per cent are aimed at making the energy sector grow and enable it to provide quality service delivery.

Speaking on June 18 in Kitwe during the Energy Regulation Board public hearing on Zesco’s intention to increase tariffs to 66 per cent, Mwale said his company had no intention of exploiting the consumers but wanted to improve service delivery.

“The low tariffs by Zesco made it possible for the privatisation of the mining sector. The low tariffs also made it possible for the country to attract investment. This is why we want to nurture the investment in the country through the provision of quality services, but we can’t provide quality services without enough funds.

“This is why we want to increase tariffs to 66 per cent. We do not derive joy in just hammering our customers with tariffs. We want the power sector to grow and support economic development,” Mwale said. (Times of Zambia)

Studio with Pornographic material raided in Lusaka's Chunga

May 6, 2009
DEC, police find miniature video cameras connected to CCTV system

A Combined team of officers from the police and Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) in Lusaka has uncovered a concealed studio in a house in Chunga township where pirated and pornographic materials are suspected to be produced.

The owner of the house, a former Copperbelt University student who was found in the house during the raid, was yesterday picked up to help with investigations. The studio is fitted with a fully-computerised ultra-modern surveillance system comprising six miniature video cameras connected to a CCTV (closed-circuit television) system, an intercom system on all doors and a touch-sensitive alarm system, which is wired to all windows.

CCTV is the use of video cameras to transmit a signal to a specific place, on a limited set of monitors. It is often used for surveillance in areas that may need monitoring such as banks, casinos, airports, military installations and convenience stores. Using the surveillance system around the house, the occupants managed to disconnect and dismantle one of the computer hard discs when they noticed the police approaching, but the equipment was later re-assembled and pornographic material was discovered on it.

Acting DEC Commissioner Solomon Jere said the commission was concerned about the pornographic materials, and the discovery would be followed by a seizure of the house, the equipment and all the items discovered inside. He said some people had already been arrested and more were likely to be picked up as investigations progressed.

Intellectual property specialist Kingsley Nkonde estimated the value of equipment found in the hidden studio to be about US$ 50,000. Among the items found were multi-media computers with a capacity of duplicating 48 DVDs or CDs per minute, colour printers for printing the covers of the pirated materials, and laptops.

Hundreds of movies on DVDs, blank CDs, copied items, cover printouts and cuttings were also found in three of the rooms in the house. The house was fully equipped with monitors for the CCTV system as well as different types of uninstalled surveillance cameras.

Nkonde said it took police four days to investigate the goings-on at the house before the raid was effected around 03:00 hours yesterday. He said although the team disturbed the surveillance cameras by pointing them upwards to avoid detection, the law enforcement officers experienced difficulties in entering the house because of the alarm system on the window panes. He said the house was conveniently built without a wall fence in order for surveillance cameras to detect all approaching objects and persons.

Nkonde said that because of the suspected illegal activities discovered in the house, the officers believed that the surveillance system was meant for detecting approaching law enforcement officers rather than criminal elements.

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Emmanuel Nyirenda, who rushed to the scene, commended the law enforcement officers who made the raid, saying the discovery was a major bust. He said the Government had for a long time thought that the pirated materials were being imported into the country.
He said the discovery showed that the offensive materials were locally manufactured.

The ministry would now be more alert in detecting the local sources of the pirated materials and ensure that the producers were dealt with. He urged the public to report whoever was suspected of being involved in the scam, saying the owner of the house and the studio in Chunga would have to help the police with investigations.

The owner of the house denied that he operated an illegal studio and explained that he and his partners were in the process of forming a company related to studio work.(Times of Zambia)

Two cops nabbed over K1bn ivory

March 2, 2009

Zambia Wildlife Authority (Zawa) yesterday arrested four people, including two police officers, in Kafue for trafficking in ivory and rhino horns worth more than K1 billion.

Zawa director general, Lewis Saiwana said March 1 that the suspects were arrested for trafficking in 72 pieces of elephant ivory and five pieces of rhino horns.

Dr Saiwana named the two police officers as detective sub-inspector Mutakatala Mwiya of House No 42/20 and Soviet Munsanje, 34, of House number G352 both of Lusaka’ Old Kanyama Township.

He was speaking to journalists at Zawa Chilanga head office when he inspected the confiscated ivory packed together with pieces of amethyst gemstones concealed in six trunks. For such huge ivory, Dr Saiwana said the poachers killed 36 elephants but, however, said it was suspected that the animals were killed from neighbouring countries and not in Zambia.

He said the four suspects were arrested by Zawa and Zambia police Chilanga traffic officers after a tip-off from members of the public in Kafue who quickly alerted Zawa yesterday.

“In our continued effort to clamp down on the scourge and illegal trafficking of wildlife products, Zawa stepped up its operations to arrest the situation. This was in an operation conducted early this morning (yesterday) in the Kafue District, and we managed to arrest two police officers and two other civilians,” Dr Saiwana said.

The suspects loaded the contraband into a private Toyota minibus that was also seized by the officers and is currently parked at Zawa offices in Chilanga. Dr Saiwana, however, said all Zambian rhinoceros were safe and not endangered because of the stringent 24-hour security services provided by Zawa.

“In Mosi-oa-Tunya national park, all the five rhinos are very protected and the other 23 black rhinoceros in North Luangwa national park are safe,” he said.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ministry of Health Diary 2009

June 13, 2009

6 Health officials nabbed


Investigative agencies have arrested six senior Ministry of Health employees in connection with the K27 billion theft, as former permanent secretary in the ministry, Simon Miti, was asked to declare his assets. The six, who are jointly charged with theft by public servant were arrested and detained June 12, 2009.
Four of them have been detained at Woodlands police station while three are at Kabwata station.

Those arrested from the Ministry of Health are Able Kasongo, head of procurement, Zukas Kaoma, principal accountant, Anthony Mwila, senior procurement officer and Loyd Onge, internal auditor. Others are Justin Phiri, accountant, Nobert Peleti, assistant deputy director for administration.

And Best Home Lodge operations manager, Fred Chileshe has been charged with theft.
Lawyer representing Chileshe and Kaoma, Kelvin Bwalya confirmed yesterday that his clients had been arrested and jointly charged with five other people.
He said six officials from the Ministry of Health had been charged with theft by public servant while Chileshe had been charged with theft.

Bwalya said his clients had been charged in connection with the theft of K1.9 billion and would appear in court on Monday. He said the police refused to grant the seven police bond, adding that he would apply for bail for his clients on Monday.
The arrest of the seven comes in the wake of intensified investigations by a joint team of investigative agencies comprising the Drug-Enforcement Commission (DEC), Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and Police Service.

Meanwhile, Dr Miti June 12 gave investigative agencies an inventory of his properties following a warn and caution statement that was recorded from him on June 11. Dr Miti who has been sent on forced leave, was transferred to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Vocational Training. This is in connection with the financial scam at the Ministry of Health involving more than K27 billion belonging to the Government.

Dr Miti’s lawyer, Rabson Malipenga said in Lusaka yesterday that his client went to the ACC offices where he was given a form to list his properties. Malipenga said his client had not been charged and only did a routine exercise as required by investigative agencies. Dr Miti is the first senior Government official to have been warned and cautioned in connection with the investigations currently underway at the Ministry of Health. (Times of Zambia)

June 9, 2009
Kapoko’s lodge chief summoned

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday interrogated and recorded a statement from Best Home Lodge operations manager, Fred Chileshe in connection with the K27 billion scam at the Ministry of Health. Chileshe was summoned to the ACC offices and arrived in the company of his lawyer, Kelvin Bwalya, at 14:15 hours. He was questioned from 14:30 hours to 16:45 hours.

Bwalya said afterwards that ACC had recorded a statement from his client in a friendly atmosphere based on mutual trust regarding the operations of Best Home Lodge. He said Chileshe gave ACC officers information on the history of Best Home Lodge and its directors.
“It was a friendly interview and we agreed with the ACC that my client can still come back if there is need,” he said.

Bwalya said it was his hope that the interview would help clear the air on the issue of Best Home Lodge.

Meanwhile, 27 employees at Best Home Lodge have been asked to stay away from work by their management without any payment almost five weeks after the ACC raided the premises. Although the lodge remains open, no single client has been there since the ACC’s visit, resulting in the workers seeking legal guidance and an explanation from the management. The workers had been reporting for work until a few days ago when management advised them to stay away.

Some employees said since all the bank accounts for the lodge had been frozen, it became difficult to even get their salaries.
“Some of us have worked for a long time at the lodge and we cannot just leave like this. We need to be paid something for us to find our way out,” one of the workers said.

Former Ministry of Health senior human resource officer, Henry Kapoko owns Best Home Lodge located in Lusaka’s Roma Township. Kapoko was arrested for obtaining money by false pretences involving over K1.9 billion. He appeared in court and remains in custody after the magistrate’s court denied him bail.

And four people in Lusaka are registered as the owners of ESU Nursing School Limited, believed to have benefited from the K27 billion scam at the Ministry of Health.

The shareholders of the school of midwifery in Lusaka’s Kalundu area include Barbara Ushibantu, Dorcas Siafwa of Kaunda Square, Miriam Phiri of Longacres and Edwin Ushibantu who was registered as secretary.

According to a search at the patents and companies registration office, the school started with a nominal capital of K400,000,000 in 2003 and 50,000,000 shares. (Times of Zambia)

June 4, 2009
Kapoko denies K1.9 bn charge

Ministry of Health human resources manager, Henry Kapoko yesterday pleaded not guilty before a Lusaka magistrate’s court to one count of obtaining money by false pretences amounting to K1.9 billion.

Kapoko was led into the dock by two plain-clothed police officers and chief resident magistrate, Charles Kafunda, immediately re-allocated the matter to magistrate Kenneth Mulife where plea was taken. Kapoko, 36, between January 22 and February 28, this year while acting with other persons unknown, with intent to defraud the Ministry of Health, allegedly purported to have ordered and shipped 50,000 mother baby kits worth K1, 989,000,000 when, in fact, not.

After he denied the charge, Kapoko’s lawyers Nicholas Chanda and Kelvin Bwalya applied for bail. They said their client was a Zambian who was married with fixed abode, still employed by the Ministry of Health and entitled to bail.
But divisional prosecutions officer, Frank Mumbuna objected to the bail application, saying Kapoko could not be trusted as police officers only managed to arrest him a few minutes before he was about to leave the country.

Mumbuna said that one of the conditions to sustain the bail application was the possibility of Kapoko availing himself to the court but this was not the case because the accused could not be trusted.
“It took 10 days for the police to locate Kapoko and it is a pity that the defence are not aware about this. The investigations team went to his home in Woodlands but nobody knew his whereabouts. Even his uncle expressed ignorance,” he said.

Mumbuna said the arresting officer only traced Kapoko when the accused made a telephone call to his best friend.

But Chanda said there should be no fear of fleeing because Kapoko’s passport had been submitted to the investigations officers and he would abide by the instructions set by the court.
“Our client is merely facing allegations until proven guilty by a competent court. Our prayer is that you proceed with your discretion since Kapoko is innocent as at now unless the State proves that he is guilty,” Mr Chanda said. He said the police had no difficulties in locating Kapoko who would always avail himself when needed.

Chanda said it was not true that the State had difficulties in locating Kapoko but that it was police who were not ready to arrest his client as he had been detained since Saturday last week and was only charged on June 9. He said police officers only charged Kapoko under pressure from somewhere and challenged them to start trial and not to concentrate on incarceration.

Mulife reserved ruling for Kapoko’s bail application to tomorrow to allow him time to look at the submissions by both the State and the defence lawyers, which he said, were lengthy.

And after court proceedings, Kapoko was whisked away in a police vehicle to Kamwala remand prison. Kapoko’s relatives immediately descended on journalists accusing them of being unprofessional while others assaulted Zambia Daily Mail photo-journalist, John Ngoma. Kapoko’s uncle Robert Kalimi later apologised. The matter has been adjourned to June, 17, for mention. (Times of Zambia)

June 1, 2009
23 health workers detained

By Sylvia Mweetwa
Ministry of Health employees linked to the theft of about K27 billion from the Government have been detained in various police stations in Lusaka to assist with investigations.
The investigators had also agreed with commercial banks to freeze bank accounts of all the 23 suspects as the embezzlement probe continued.
Police spokesperson, Bonnie Kapeso said in an interview that 23 officers were detained for interrogation but were yet to be charged.
Mr Kapeso said investigations were progressing well and the detained suspects were soon likely to be charged with offences ranging from forgery to obtaining money by false pretences.
“We have detained 23 officers from the ministry of Health who are assisting us with investigations and the number is likely to increase following the addition of more names to the list of suspects,” he said.
Those detained were picked up between Thursday and Friday and were taken to different stations including Lusaka Central, Emmasdale, Kabwata and Bennie Mwiinga for interrogations.
Mr Kapeso assured that the probe team, comprising the police, Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) and Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), was committed to conducting a thorough probe and ensure that those involved faced the law.
Other sources close to the investigation, who spoke on condition of anonymity, revealed that the bank accounts of the 23 officers under interrogations had been frozen, pending investigations.
“The investigators met the heads of commercial banks last Tuesday and it was agreed that the suspects would only be allowed to draw their salaries this month while the rest of the money would remain frozen,” a source said.
The source said the investigations had been extended to more suspects who previously worked for the ministry of Health as contract workers and a few of them were on the run.
There was anxiety at some police stations after relatives who had gone to check on those detained found that the suspects had been moved to other stations.
On Saturday, police picked up former ministry of Health permanent secretary, Simon Miti who was questioned for over six hours on the same matter.
Dr Miti becomes the first senior public service officer to be picked up since the probe into alleged misuse of public funds at the ministry started.
Secretary to the Cabinet, Joshua Kanganja announced on Friday that the number of those implicated in the matter had shot up to 32 from the initial 23 Government workers and all had since been sent on forced leave to pave way for investigations.
President Rupiah Banda recently called for a thorough probe into the ministry of Health scandal and punishment of all involved.
Sweden and the Netherlands have withheld US$33 million aid to the ministry of Health because of the scandal, leaving the Government with a monthly financing gap of K24 billion and placing health service delivery at risk. (Times of Zambia)

May 30, 2009
Nine more suspended
••• As Health ministry scam probe scam intensifies

THE number of employees being investigated at the Ministry of Health for the alleged theft of K10 billion from the Government has now shot up to 32, Secretary to the Cabinet Joshua Kanganja has said.

Initially, 23 Government workers were implicated in the scam, in which the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) placed some property on restriction.
Dr Kanganja said nine more employees at the Ministry of Health had been sent on forced leave pending investigations into the K10 billion financial scandal, bringing the total number of those being investigated to 32.

Dr Kanganja said in Lusaka yesterday when he addressed journalist that the nine employees had since been issued with suspension letters.
“I was given the first report which contained about 20 suspects but I received an updated report on Thursday and this indicates that the number of suspects under investigation has risen to 32,” he said.

The Ministry of Health earlier this week sent on forced leave 23 members of staff named in the investigation into the financial scandal involving the theft of more than K10 billion from the Government. He said currently he could not take further measures against the suspects because the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) was still investigating the matter.

Dr Kanganja said the ACC was on the ground investigating the allegations and after the commission completed its findings, he would take appropriate action.
Dr Kanganja said administrative action against those who would be found wanting would be taken adding that some of them would be dismissed and prosecuted.

Meanwhile, Dr Kanganja has directed ministries in-charge of the implementation of the decentralisation process to hasten the process. Speaking when he opened the decentralisation implementation policy (DIP) meeting for permanent secretaries held at Chrsimar Hotel, Dr Kanganja said the successful implementation of the policy would improve the responsiveness to the needs of the people.
“In the light of the importance of this policy towards the attainment of Zambia’s development objectives in general and the public service reform programmes in particular. I direct each and every ministry that will be devolving some of their functions to accord issues of implementation of decentralisation the seriousness they deserve,” he said.

He said implementation of the DIP would empower communities and contribute significantly towards the fight against poverty and improve governance issues.
Dr Kanganja however said the implementation of the DIP would encounter challenges like resistance to change from a centralisation system to a decentralised one.
Her said the policy was expected to be achieved within the stipulated time frame saying critics would be proved wrong.

Dr Kanganja urged the permanent secretaries to deal with such challenges, as it was their task to ensure that the Government overcame setbacks like that of change.
He said the Government had prepared a sensitisation strategy for dissemination of the policy and had used it extensively to engage different stakeholders to inform them about the decentralisation process as well as its implications.

Dr Kanganja said some of the stakeholders engaged include all the 13 sector ministries, provincial and district administrations, and members of Parliament, media institutions, trade union leaders, cooperating partners and the civil society.
He said these stakeholders would devolve some of their current functions to their members.

At the same function, German Technical Support programme leader, Peter Dineiger said the preparation of the DIP’s roadmap by the Government indicated that it was committed to decentralising its operations.

Dineiger said as cooperating partners, they were confident that the DIP would foster intergovernmental cooperation and encourage coordination between ministries.
Earlier Local Government and Housing Permanent Secretary Coillard Chibbonta said by June or July, DIP would be implemented. (Times of Zambia)

May 14, 2009
ACC smashes K10bn scam

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has smashed a racket in Lusaka in which more than K10 billion was stolen from the Ministry of Health and restricted K3 billion worth of property suspected to have been bought from the proceeds.

In another development, the ACC on Tuesday summoned former Clerk of the National Assembly, Mwelwa Chibesakunda on charges of corruption. ACC public relations manager, Timothy Moono said the K10 billion racket was masterminded by a former Ministry of Health official who has since been moved to the Ministry of Local Government and Housing.
“The official has not yet been arrested but investigations have continued,” he said.

Moono said the official drew the money from the Ministry of Health account and diverted it to personal businesses. Twelve vehicles, among them a Hummer H3 and two Mercedes Benz cars, believed to have been purchased using public funds, have been seized. Other vehicles recovered were two Toyota Lexus, an X5 BMW, a Mitsubishi Challenger, a Ford Ranger, a Mazda Pickup and a 30-tonne Nissan UDI tipper truck.
he ACC has also placed Best Home Lodge in Roma Township and a house in Olympia Park under restriction pending the conclusion of the investigations. Moono, who led journalists to view the lodge yesterday, said the vehicles were seized from different people who revealed that they had been given by the former Ministry of Health official.

The syndicate, which has been going on since last year, was believed to have involved many people at the Ministry of Health apart from the official in question.
Moono said even after the suspect had been relocated to the other ministry, he had continued to influence some members of staff at the Ministry of Health to siphon more money. (Times of Zambia)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Zambia is gripped by Henry Kapoko's story, how he lavished his friends and girl friend on public money. A number of papers trying to analyse and reach some truth of what appears to be the greatest theft of public funds in Zambia. However, apart from the ministry of health similar scams are yet to be exposed at the Ministries of Home Affairs, Works and Supply and Local Government. It is a matter of time, say pundits.

Rupiah Banda’s government is only six months in power, yet it is blamed for the corruption revealed in the 2007 Auditor General’s Reports, the USD53m purchase of mobile hospitals, the purchase of USD2.9m 100 Hearses, the K27billion scam at Ministry of Health and others. But is he to blame? What is this campaign attempting to achieve?

While many people are genuinely shocked at the extent and blatant acts of corruption at the Ministry of Health, it is however, not surprising to the critics who opposed the major policy shift that President Levy Mwanawasa undertook at the Ministry.
The rot at the Ministry of Health is rooted in one single decision made by the government of Mwanawasa.

On 25th July 2004, President Mwanawasa announced that he would abolish the Central Board of Health (CBoH) arguing that it employed the bulk of health professionals leaving hospitals and clinics unmanned. He also accused CBoH of carrying similar functions as that of the Ministry of Health.

This position was supported by his Minister of Health, Dr. Brain Chituwo and his Permanent Secretary, Dr. Simon Miti. Chituwo informed the nation that to carry out the dissolution, government needed K400 billion to cover the cost of the structural changes and also required statutory amendments to the National Health Services act of 1992. He said that since cooperating partners had pledged to meet some costs of this transformation, he hoped that they supported the dissolution idea.
When Dr. Simon Miti pushed hard for the abolition of Central Board of Health (CBoH), many didn’t see the sense or fathom the logic behind it.

This is because CBoH was a successful and efficient health delivery system that had ensured that healthcare country wide was delivered while the Ministry of Health remained preoccupied with policy issues and only played supervisory and regulatory roles.

The formation of CBoH was central in the reforms and changes that came with Democracy in 1991. The changes were designed to improve health service delivery. Like other services weaned off government such as collection of taxes (Zambia revenue Authority (ZRA) transformed from Customs Department) and delivery of road, traffic and infrastructure services (Road Development Agency (RDA) and Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA)), it was critical that Ministry of Health was left with policy and supervisory issues while providing health care was done through an streamlined agency.

CBOH was an autonomous body delivering health to Zambians in a more efficient and professional manner. To achieve government goal of delivering equitable access to cost-effective and quality health care to the family, government in 1992 embarked on ambitious health sector reforms that saw the creation of CBoH through an act of Parliament, the National Health Services Act of 1992.

The Act created an autonomous health service body that left the Ministry of Health to rightly deal with policies and care for hospital and clinics infrastructure. The management and delivery of health care was left to CBoH. There was a trouble in this arrangement for the corrupt few. Donors and government disbursed funds directly to CBoH. Accountability was high and authority over the expenditure of this money was diverse.

The Ministry of Health is key to the development of the country and receives 15% of the National Budget as funding and 42% of project monies from multilateral and cooperating partners to Zambia goes to it. They needed to centralise all funds received from donors and government and place it under one single authority. For until the ministry was a monolithic structure laden with layers of bureaucratic structure, their plan could not work. Crime thrives in chaos not in transparent and accountable systems. CBoH was a clear danger to them! They pushed for the immediate abolition of CBoH claiming that the board tied too many skilled and, senior and technical health workers to administrative roles. They succeeded.

In 2005, Parliament passed amendments to the National Health Services Act which saw the immediate abolition of CBoH. The Board’s roles quickly reverted to the Ministry of Health and consequently to Chituwo and Miti. So began the crime. It was dastard in nature and bold in its impunity.

Most of the money from western donors is designed to cater for costs of awareness and education of health workers. In Zambian parlance, it’s called Workshops!
Regular funds from cooperating partners were targeted. Also funds that came from the President’s Emergency Plan for HIV/AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and funds from the Global Funds against HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria. And funds from the National Budget.
A nursing school was quickly set up and friendly lodges were recruited or built to cater for the workshops. And a friendly banker in Suresh Gupta was available.

The Ministry of Health receives a fifth of Zambia’s national Budget. It receives corresponding and similar funding from western and cooperating partners and donors.
Yet all this money is kept at a small bank with only one branch in Zambia. - First Alliance Bank. The bank is run by Astro Holdings Chief, Suresh Gupta, like Rajahn Mahtani, is no stranger to financial controversies and dealings, and has a way of using money to skirt out of troublesome issues.

What started as small and minor role of banking transactions by Ministry of Health at First Alliance Bank under Dr. Kashiba Bulaya has over the years grown under Dr. Simon Miti, to house Ministry of Health main kwacha and forex accounts.
This is an extremely expensive way to deliver Health care in Zambia as the bank only has one single branch based at Bata House (Now Alliance House after Astro Holdings bought the building from Zambia Bata Shoe Company at a cost of USD1.6m) in Cairo Road.

It means that bank transaction attract costly fees and charges as the small bank has to use bigger banks such as ZANACO, Barclays, Standard Chartered and Finance Bank to channel funding for the ministry to its outlying hospitals and clinics and salary payments to health workers country-wide. Dr. Bulaya after many years away from the ministry and currently in prison still receives a monthly stipend from First Alliance Bank! One wonders what benefits Dr. Simon Miti receives after ‘enhancing’ the financial relation of Ministry of Health with the Bank.

Investigators are also looking at Gupta’s other banking transactions. The bank is said to keep record and transaction of its valued and personal customers in the strictest of confidence. A separate ledger is kept and managed by Gupta himself away from the prying eyes of the bank staff and regulators. It is this ledger that has attracted attention from investigators. Dr. Simon Miti and others are said to appear on this ledger. So is Mrs. (Dr.) Maureen Mwanawasa who is said to have USD10million (K47bln) in her account! Could be the reason Maureen demanded to be Banda’s Vice, or his Minister of Health?

The extent of the theft of public monies for the period currently under review 2008 and partly 2009 is over K27billion. But the theft is said to be as high as K64billion since 2006.

In these recent revelations, most of the monies have been paid to a newly established nursing school housed at a private house in Chudleigh, Lusaka.
The school, ESU Nursing School has received over K7billion (USD1.2m) just in 2008, on the pretext that it is training government nurses, mid-wives and clinical officers and the continuous training of health workers through workshops.
This is more money given to a single and private institution than government and legitimate nursing training institutions ever receive from the Ministry. These government nursing schools are lying in a state of disrepair and are run under deplorable conditions. Yet ESU Nursing School was paid over K7billion in one year!
One of the Directors to ESU Nursing School is Joshua Ushibantu Simpaya, a Ministry of Health employee! However it is known that such persons as Simpaya and Henry Kapoko are mere fronts holding such assets in trust for the big fishes in loftier positions.

The now infamous civil servant Henry Kapoko received over K10 billion for his lodge Best Home Lodge based in Roma, and for his other companies Hesaka Enterprise, Kahekam ltd. Other notable recipient was Royal College of Business and Management (Royal Secretarial and Management College) received K4.3billion in 2008.

Thanks to a jilted lover, the lid has been blown that exposes the worst corruption cases in Zambia. Rudo Tukuza Chitengu, a planner at the Ministry of Health who has a child with Henry Kapoko vowed to bring Kapoko down after a ‘marital’ dispute in February 2009. When Kapoko broke her arm in an ensuing fight, she reported him to the Police for assault and occasioning serious bodily harm. She lamented at the Police that she had been in a longstanding relationship with Kapoko and would not allow him to leave her for his other numerous girlfriends. She cried that she was only expected to fight with Kapoko’s wife and not fight about his girlfriends!
She promised to bring his arrogant ‘ass’ down and bring his financial empire and that of his ‘bosses’ to the drain. She took matters in her own hands and made frequent visits to Kulima House (where the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is housed). Kapoko accuses her of demanding K75million for the assault case and that he since paid her K25 million. He also accuses her of having a relationship with Simon Miti. This resulted in a sensational case where Kapoko has been exposed. ACC picked Kapoko and restricted and seized his newly acquired assets. Among the assets seized is an executive lodge, Best Home Lodge built in Roma.

Other vehicles impounded were two 4X4s, a BMW X5, and a GM Hammer. The ACC also seized two Mercedes Benz cars, two Lexus cars, a 30 tonne Nissan Truck, two pick-ups, a Mazda and Ford Ranger. To seek ‘protection’ Kapoko quickly offered his new but ill-gotten wealth to political parties and attempted to ingratiate himself to its leaders. Patriotic Front (PF) leader, Michael Sata was among the beneficiary. He was given undisclosed amount of money and he held several meeting at the lodge.
Also, Rupiah Banda’s consultants during elections, from Bell Portinger a UK, PR and publicist specialist are said to have stayed at Best Home lodge. Benny Tetamashimba speaking on behalf of the MMD has refuted that the consultants stayed at the lodge stating that they lodged at Bennie Lodge in Kabulonga, (Former Nkhoma’s property).
Although acting as a whistle blower, Rudo Tukuza Chitengu has not been spared! She used her own ill gotten wealth received from Kapoko, to illustrate how Kapoko, Miti and others stole public monies.

The ACC has however acted prudently seeing through Rudo’s anger and intention. The ACC has consequently seized or restricted Rudo’s flat no 27 ZNBS Complex in Musonda Ngosa Road in Villa Elizabetha. Her account at Intermarket Banking Corporation with a K200million deposit has been frozen. Her mother’s (Ann Ngoma) assets have also been frozen. Rudo’s assets in shares at ZANACO and ZAIN have also been restricted.

Further her government bonds valued at K350million has been restricted including cash amounts seized while conducting a search at her house. Rudo is also among the 32 workers suspended and being investigated at the Ministry of Health.

It is clear that recent revelations of suspected corruption cases were actually committed during the reign of President Levy Patrick Mwanawasa.

Ministers defending Rupiah Banda are always at pains stating that the corruption being exposed occurred before Banda took office. They continue to remind Zambians that Banda has only held for six months.

Yet they can’t call a spade a spade - that this corruption actually occurred under Mwanawasa’s reign and by him or his officials.
There is a lot of trouble with that line. And Fred Mmembe and The Post are sensitive to how corruption cases are exposed. So are the western donors! There is an attempt to depict Mwanawasa’s corruption as civil servants' corruption enjoying no political support or involvement from State House.

The empire portrays the cases in a manner that does not touch ‘Mr Integrity’ for they had washed him so white that they are guarding the ‘legacy’ with jealous.
But the legacy was painted so falsely white, that every new revelation is making a stain, a conspicuous blot! One wonders how long the lie will hold that Mr. Integrity was not so clean after all and he was soiled by his corrupt acts and that of his wife.

And that the charade and mirage created while ‘fighting’ corruption faces collapse, as their own theft and corruption is catching up. The so called Fight against Corruption will stand as exposed as the acts of corruption they hid.
The day of reckoning is making dreadful calling and coming. How will the donors explain the millions of dollars spent in the so called Fight against Corruption? What happened to ‘Zero Tolerance against Corruption Policy’? How could the game rangers turn on the Game? The Game the nation trusted them to keep? And chose to become the worst poachers?

It is no wonder that the cases of corruption are reported in a strange and skewed manner. It is either reported as Frederick Chiluba’s corruption the man that left office 9 years ago or Rupiah Banda’s corruption, the man who only ascended to this office six months ago!

The Mwanawasa period is skipped with such skill that it is difficult to recognise that the worst corruption in Zambia in fact, occurred under Mwanawasa, under his watch, mostly by his family, his friends and his officials!
Many are joking that what occurred under Mwanawasa’s reign was in fact not corruption. It was just THEFT! Grand THEFT!

Take for example press reports emanating from the Public Accounts Committee in Parliament that is discussing the Auditor General’s report. The misappropriation and irregularities are cast in bold exposure that you might not notice that the report under discussion and on the table is a 2007 Auditor General’s Report! And no mention is made to who was in power in 2007!

And the opposition have not helped matters. United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema issued a statement stating that ‘I miss Levy (Mwanawasa); Corruption under Rupiah’s government has worsened!’

Reuben Lifuka, Head of Transparency International also issued a statement claiming that the political will to fight corruption is NOT as strong as it used to be under Levy Mwanawasa.

Mwanawasa could have shouted loudest against corruption. It is another matter if he really fought COORUPTION! Although he fought his political adversaries with a whip of corruption, this does not mean that he was fighting corruption.

It is clear that they do not recognise that Banda is in a dilemma. If he chooses to fight corruption, the immediate victims and culprits will be Maureen Mwanawasa, her family empire and the so called ‘legacy’. For he might find himself in the same position as Mwanawasa, where he will be accused of ‘fighting’ those that brought him and favoured him with the privileges of power.

Transparency International, western donors and The Post have perpetuated a myth that fighting corruption is jailing Chiluba and his officials! Unfortunately, fighting corruption is a much higher principle and would require and mean that WHOEVER has dipped their hands in the public purse and kitty should be brought to book without exception.

If this was followed, it will without doubt, bring in sharp focus the strong allegations of corruption against Levy and Maureen Mwanawasa, Mutembo Nchito, Mark Chona, Fred Mmembe and others who have helped themselves to public monies. They should be exposed and be brought to book.

But how could the ‘angels’ of the Fight against Corruption be involved in stealing public funds and with such impunity? The very fight against corruption was their shield as focus and attention was deliberately cast elsewhere!

It is for this reason that Mmembe has busied Rupiah Banda with corruption allegations so that the nation can skip scrutiny of Mwanawasa’s serious allegations of corruption and observe only Chiluba’s allegations and jump to Rupiah Banda’s rule.
History repeats itself. Earlier The Post helped the nation skip allegations of corruption against Kenneth Kaunda’s rule.

A Taskforce was even instituted with official and express limits to probe only Chiluba’s rule! They foolishly portrayed Corruption in Zambia as starting and ending with only Frederick Chiluba. Not Kaunda and not Mwanawasa!

And similar attempts are being made to make the nation jump to corruption allegations against Rupiah Banda and avoid Mwanawasa’s? And The Post is a veteran institution at providing the nation with such ‘skilful guidance’.

The allegations of corruption against Banda’s government have also helped Mmembe as the Zambian Airways issue is now shelved on the list of priorities. Mmembe and his friends in the donor community have piled pressure on Banda that the focus has now shifted away from them to the ‘new’ scandals!

But it is now clear that attempt by Rupiah Banda’s enemies to depict him as corrupt and selfish has back fired. It has now emerged that the corruption being exposed as Banda’s corruption is in fact occurred or was sown under Mwanawasa.

When Department For International Development (DFID), head Joy Hutcheon ‘leaked’ documents to The Post about the mobile hospital purchases many were quick to call the deal as corrupt and placed President Rupiah Banda at the centre of the deal.
Yet the deal is old.

In order to attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in health, government planned two years ago and under Dr. Simon Miti/ Dr. Brian Chituwo that government should construct 15 more hospitals in 19 districts. The Ministry of Health 5 year national strategic plan covering the period 2006-2011 also envisioned these expansions in infrastructure and health service delivery.

Further those mobile hospitals should be procured to compliment the long-term investments in construction of hospitals and clinics. The investment is required so that Zambia can attempt to attain the UN MDGs by 2015.

The mobile hospitals were to be procured from China with a USD53m loan from that country’s Export and Import Bank (EX-IM Bank). The equipment would be procured from China’s industrial giant China National Aero Technology Import and Export (CATIC).
DFID and other donors seem too object to this deal because the procurement is being done outside Crown Agents (managers of Medical Stores), outside their plans and their preferred suppliers.

The donors even threatened to with-hold aid to the health sector if government went ahead with this Chinese deal. Many should remember that in 2003, DFID offered Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe a loan of USD42 million to buy Anti Retrovirals (ARVs)! Only when international charity organisation raised alarm that Africa was being laden with ‘stupid’ and unsustainable debts such as the DFID ARVs debt that they offered to convert it to a grant! How could they give a loan of USD42 million for a purpose that would last few months and was not sustainable but allow these country a long-term loan?

The threats against Banda’s administration have nothing to do with either the mobile hospital deal. Some donors have even now used the recent scam at the Ministry of Health to freeze aid to the health sector. Sweden and Denmark have announced that this year’s funding to the sector will be withheld until investigations are completed in the fraud at Ministry of Health. The threats lie in politics and in a grander plan.

The deal was mooted under Silvia Masebo and has seen the procurement of 100 Hearses by the Ministry of local Government. The vehicles are meant to be used by districts to help people burry the departed with dignity. Although the cause is noble, it is said that the true costs of the 100 Vehicles is USD900, 000.00 and not the inflated USD2.9miilion as each vehicle is said to cost USD9000 and not the USD29, 000.00.
Masebo budgeted for K8billion (USD2.9m) but owing to exchange rate fluctuations, the cost is now K14billion.

The Post and its seasonal allies have ratcheted up the political pressure against Rupiah Banda’s government. They are succeeding in portraying Banda’s administration as corrupt and inept. Their list of acts of ‘corruption’ is growing. There are counting: The award of a contract worth USD2.0million to R. P. Capitals of Cayman Islands to value ZAMTEL assets. The cancelled deal to supply, install and commission of air traffic management surveillance radar systems at Lusaka and Livingstone Airports. They now include the USD53million for mobile hospitals and USD2.9million for Hearses. They are also citing the amendments and transformation of the law relating to the Zambia National Tender Board now changed to Zambia Public Procurement Authority. The amendments although mooted by the Mwanawasa administration are now a source of accusation that Banda wishes to facilitate corruption through this change of the law which gives more latitude to controlling officers.

And the ‘cream’ of it is the theft of billions of Kwacha by ‘civil servants’ at Ministry of Health. Some cooperating partners are freezing aid and PF leader Michael Sata is attempting to create an election fever. He has embarked on a country-wide tour drawing crowds in his campaigns.
Clearly one could admire the skills, though evil of The Post in managing to bring ‘crises’ to Banda’s doorstep.
The aim is to make Banda succumb to public pressure and befriend The Post and drop all investigations against Mmembe, Mutembo Nchito, Maureen Mwanawasa and others.
This will restore them to a position where they dictate the pace and direction of their brand of the Fight against Corruption. They also wish to ‘restore’ national hatred and interest, and strong feelings of antipathy against Frederick Chiluba as days hurtle towards July 20th 2009!
They also hope to slow down tremendously, the perception of corruption fast emerging against the administration of Levy Mwanawasa. The blemishes and dark spots against ‘Mr. Integrity’ are sprouting everywhere on his white washed image. The marks appear indelible and might hurt the grandiose memorial plans currently underway!
The war is becoming desperate and it is clear that this empire is determined to collapse a legitimate and elected government. Will Rupiah Banda succumb? Will he drop the strong stance he has taken against the empire? Or will he go for the Jugular?

Minister of Local Government Benny Tetamashimba at a recent press conference promised the nation that the country will be shocked with the new corruption revelations coming! He called it the Mother of all Corruption in Zambia. He also urged Zambians to note the gender of his terminology! The Mother of All Corruption! Teta, Zambia is watching, Zambia is waiting!

Minister warns immigration officers against corruption

March 5 2008

By Mulenga Kasuba
Minister of Home Affairs, General Ronnie Shikapwasha, has warned immigration officers against engaging in corrupt practices because it frustrated Government’s efforts at improving the country’s economy.

Speaking at a senior officers’ workshop at King Fisher Lodge in Lusaka March 4, Lt.Gen. Shikapwasha said the Immigration Department was among the Government wings that were involved in the embezzlement of public funds in 2007.
“I would like to warn you that I will not take kindly to those embezzling Government funds. I am urging officers to examine themselves in terms of corruption in the rank and file of the department by ensuring accountability,” he said.

He was happy that the Immigration Department had raised significant revenue within a short period following the abolition of visa waivers in January 2008. He urged regional commanders to ensure accountability for revenue collections by controlling banking procedures and observing banking regulations among subordinate officers in order to stamp out corruption. He urged the department to ensure that revenue collections did not dwindle. He called on the officers to be disciplined because their department was a security wing of Government.

The minister directed the Chief Immigration Officer, Ndioyi Mutiti and regional commanders to strategise and help the country to be on time with the milestone economic achievements it was recording.

Gen. Shikapwasha said the country had embarked on economic revival ventures such as the multi facility economic zones that were attracting investment.
The minister commended the officers for performing well last year and for their intensified operations that sustained security of the country.
“The worst thing is to have foreigners harassing local people. You should continue with the operations but with a human heart. Zambia is a Christian Nation,” he said.
And Ms Mutiti said her department had continued to perform well despite transport and other logistical obstacles.

Immigration officers have flushed out undesirable immigrants. They detained 2,843 prohibited immigrants and deported 2,759 while 494 were prosecuted in the courts of law.
Ms Mutiti said the prevailing conducive environment had continued to attract investors into the country.

This has resulted in the department issuing 234 self-employment permits to investors, especially in the manufacturing industry. The department also issued 3,471 work permits last year.
She said the department collected over K57 billion against the targeted K24 billion last year.

Ms Mutiti said the tourist inflow has continued to rise and the department collected about K8 billion from five border controls in Livingstone.
“I wish to report that the same border controls have collected K1.7 billion within a five week period this year,” Ms Mutiti said. (Zambia Daily Mail)