FORMER Bank of Zambia (BoZ) governor Christopher Mvunga says he took serious measures to protect the independence of the Central Bank when he was appointed.
And Mvunga says while he did see huge withdrawals towards elections, they were normal because people were uncertain.
He was commenting on remarks made by BoZ Governor Dr Denny Kalyalya that President Hakainde Hichilema had restored the autonomy of the Central Bank, as well as comments by former BoZ governor Dr Caleb Fundanga that the independence of the Bank was certainly compromised during the PF era.
In an interview, Mvunga said former president Edgar Lungu never called him to give any instructions.
“When I was appointed as Central Bank governor, I can even tell you, we took extreme measures to protect the Central Bank’s independence. As far as I am concerned, I cannot speak for Denny, I cannot speak for Fundanga. When I was appointed as Central Bank governor on August, 22nd the President never called me to ask me for any instruction. All the decisions we made, monetary policy and whatever were our decisions. We never consulted the Executive. So, if the Executive compromised him, I don’t know. I can certainly say for me, His Excellency the President Edgar Lungu never called me when I was Central Bank governor,” Mvunga said.
When asked about allegations that he printed money randomly, he denied the claims.
“First and foremost, the governor is not even a signatory to any accounts. Why are you people beating about the bush, cash does not move anyhow. To get K10 from the Bank of Zambia vault, you will be shot. I can’t even enter myself as a governor in the vault,” he said.
When asked if he was moved to the Central Bank because he was politically friendly so that he could print money, Mvunga said records would show a different story.
“Go to Lusaka International Airport, when the money comes in, you don’t even need to go to the Bank of Zambia, they will tell you there is currency moving. You will see the armored trucks. Go and check for yourself, when did the money come in. We never brought in any money until after elections. What you are suggesting is not easy. It is like me, attempting to get pregnant is much easier than what you are asking me. I am a male, I don’t have a womb so how can I get pregnant? The former president of the Republic of Zambia never called me. Go to ZICTA and check the phone records,” Mvunga said.
When reminded that it was possible that he communicated with the president on secure lines, Mvunga said “how can he direct me when the president was not talking to me? The problem is that you want to find a fault. There are so many challenging issues in the country. Your budget for instance, how will you fund it? Stop mickey mouse issues, you have more serious issues to deal with.”
Further asked if the K65 million which was found in former ZNBC broadcaster Faith Musonda’s house came from the Central Bank, Mvunga said it was impossible.
“It is impossible. Ask the Auditor General he was in office, he audits everything. The Central Bank is very professional, nothing like that would have happened without a record. I can tell you without even a shred of a doubt, none of that ever happened. You are failing to believe and you want to put blame on others. That is what is happening. (Dr Situmbeko) Musokotwane is a Minister of Finance, you have got a new Bank of Zambia governor, I never dealt with cash. And the director deputy governor operations. Go and ask him how the money was moving. I don’t deal with currency. I never dealt with currency. If there was currency moving, yes, we did see huge withdrawals towards elections which is normal because people are uncertain. So that does not mean BoZ printed. I am here in the country now. Show me a record of where Mvunga signed to release money,” said Mvunga.