Chishimba Kambwili says President Edgar Lungu is politically naked, but PF members think he is wearing the Emperor’s new clothes.
Speaking in an interview after he appeared in court yesterday, the former chief government spokesperson observed that people surrounding President Lungu, like State House Presidential Affairs Minister Freedom Sikazwe, were deceiving themselves into believing that the Head of State is standing on solid ground when in fact he was politically exposed.
He also told journalists that he was “extremely happy” to be in court so that he could exonerate himself.
“We are extremely happy that this case has come so far. And what we are waiting to hear is how the money that I worked for, my hard-earned money, deposited in the bank, could become proceeds of crime? We are waiting for evidence to be adduced and that’s the duty of coming to court. So, we are very excited so that we can learn how the money that we have worked for has become proceeds of crime,” Kambwili said.
Reacting to a PF defector Rachel Chileshe who claimed that he would soon return to PF, Kambwili charged that Chileshe was mad and warned her to stop speaking on other people’s behalf.
“I cannot enter Chileshe’s madness; if Chileshe has defected to PF, good luck to her. She should not speak on behalf of others. Speaking on behalf of others who have not given you authority is a kind of madness. It’s only the degree of madness that we need to verify. Nobody has told Rachel Chileshe that we intend to go her direction and I don’t think for me, I’m not going any other direction, except to be a consultant,” he said.
And commenting on Freedom Sikazwe’s remarks that ‘President Lungu had transformed the country despite being called a “chakolwa”’, Kambwili said Sikazwe was deceiving the President.
“In his dreams! Have you seen any transformations under President Lungu? It is the emperor’s new suit. You remember that story in primary school ‘the emperor’s new suit’ where everybody pretended the emperor was dressed, only a small little kid came and said the emperor was naked. That’s how Sikazwe thinks. It’s the emperor’s new suit,” said Kambwili.
Meanwhile, Kambwili, his son Mwamba, Mwamona Investment and two others have pleaded not guilty to 39 counts of being in possession of property reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime, uttering a false document and obtaining pecuniary advantage by false pretences.
In this matter, Chishimba Kambwili, Mwamba Kambwili, Mwamona ENG and Tech Services Ltd, Lukwesa Musonda Brano and Mulenga Makasa Kapilima are charged with: one count of making a document without authority, one count of uttering a false document, two counts of obtaining pecuniary advantage by false pretences and 35 counts of being in possession of property suspected to be proceeds of crime.
And when the matter came up for plea before Magistrate Mwaka Mikalile, Monday, the five-accused pleaded not guilty in all 39 counts.
A witness identified as Sellah Mtonga, 42 of SOS, operations officer at Zanaco, testified that early this year, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) officers went to Zanaco requesting for Kambwili’s bank statements.
“Before officers went to the bank, they received a court order and the bank’s legal department gave a go ahead. The officers requested the bank to provide [Kambwili’s] address, phone number, physical address, postal, signature, passport size photos and prove of residence which were photocopied, certified and given to the officers,” Mtonga said.
She testified that after getting the documents, the officers went quiet and until June 8 when they requested someone from the bank to have a meeting with ACC on June 15.
“From February, 2018, to March, after getting the documents, there was no communication from ACC until first week of June. ACC said that the person who would attend the meeting should go with a bank statement from December 2014 to January 2018. I printed the statement and had it certified and I gave it to the officers,” she said.
Mtonga said at the ACC meeting, she was given 15 deposit slips, which were certified by different bank managers at Zanaco.
It was at this point that the state made an application for Mtonga to tender the documents as evidence, but one of the defence lawyers, Keith Mweemba, objected saying the state had no legal basis to invite the court to admit secondary evidence when the original existed.
He added that if the court felt inclined to admit the said photocopied documents, they should attach less weight to them for failing to comply with rules of evidence.
“On ID1, it’s very clearly that the original mandate is in existence and has never been lost. Therefore, there can be no prayer for the production of secondary copy when the original is in existence. We object to the production of ID1 because it’s secondary copy. And on ID3, the witness has not said anything on the custodian of ID3. The court has power to refuse to admit evidence no matter how relevant,” Mweemba said.
Another defence lawyer, Gilbert Phiri, observed that one of the deposit slips was not signed, whilst the rest of the deposit slips had different signatures.
“With regard to ID3, we are taking issue with some of the deposit slips, particularly one which is completely unsigned. And on the rest of the deposit slips, there are different signatures altogether. Not less than five different signatures. On the basis of that, we object to production of ID3 [into evidence],” Phiri said.
Magistrate Mikalile adjourned the matter to August 9 for continued trial and to make a ruling on whether to admit the documents or not.