A Zambia Air Force electrician yesterday led the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court to view nine fully furnished flats in Ibex Hill area where he installed chandeliers and down lights in a case in which former ZAF Commander Lieutenant General Eric Chimese and Chita Lodge Limited managing director James Chungu are accused of concealing property, among other charges.
In this matter, Chimese is jointly charged with his wife Sharon Gray Chimese and Chungu with five counts of abuse of authority, money laundering and concealing property.
The first state witness, Major Caphus Mudala, a ZAF officer, had previously testified that he supervised construction works for a two-storey building and a gym in Ibex Hill allegedly belonging to Chimese.
He said in 2013, he was assigned to supervise works at the said property by Chimese.
The witness said as at December 2014, he had worked for Chimese at the property for two years before he went for a ZAF flying course in South Africa and handed over the works to major Maseka.
But on Tuesday, Dexter Maseka, an equipment officer at ZAF, denied knowing any property belonging to Chimese.
He told the court that on January 7, 2019, he was summoned by officers from the Anti Money Laundering Unit of DEC who were inquiring on the properties owned by Chimese.
Maseka said he told the officers that he did not know of any property for Chimese as he only interacted with him over the construction of a banquet hall at Chamba Valley ZAF Mess.
Meanwhile, Martin Chanda, a ZAF electrician, told the Court on Tuesday this week, that Chimese asked him to fit chandeliers and down lights in nine flats in Lusaka’s Ibex Hill area but added that he wasn’t paid for the said works.
The witness further told the court that one of the drivers from ZAF and Lt colonel Dexter Maseka were the ones that first took him to the site.
He informed the court that this year, the Drug Enforcement Commission approached him to find out what he was currently doing at ZAF and what work he did in Ibex Hill.
The witness further testified that he was approached by former ZAF director of works, Eric Bwalya, to do some works for Chimese.
“I was told to go and see the director of works and Chimese at his office. The former ZAF commander general Chimese told me to fit chandeliers and down lights,” Chanda said.
He said he was told to install the fittings house by house by the commander.
Asked if he was paid, Chanda said no.
Asked who the owner of the property was, the witness said he wouldn’t know if it was Chimese.
Further asked to describe the said property, Chanda said the flats had three bedrooms each, self-contained, with dinning room, kitchen and a lounge.
The witness led the court, Wednesday, to view the said nine flats which were all fully furnished four-bedroomed houses.
At the site, the witness informed the court that when he first went to the property, he was taken by one of the drivers from ZAF, as well as, Lt Col Dexter Maseka.
Chanda who led the court from one flat to the other, said he fitted chandeliers and down lights in the sitting room, passages, bedrooms, kitchens, television rooms, laundry rooms and bathrooms.
But as the witness continued leading the court to the forth flat, the state informed the court that it had just come to their attention that some of the houses were occupied by tenants.
However, magistrate Chanda said the court would proceed to view all the houses as they were subject of criminal proceedings.
And after viewing, the State applied that the flats be marked for identification purposes, to which they were marked as ID1.
The matter comes up for cross examination of the witness on Friday.
In this matter, it is alleged in the first count that between June 2013 and June 2018 in Lusaka, Chimese being a ZAF commander at the time, engaged employees of ZAF to do works on his private property situated on plot number 2303/Q in Ibex Hill, an arbitrary act which was prejudicial to the interests of government.
In the second count, it is alleged that Chimese on the same dates in Chilanga district, engaged ZAF employees to do works on his private property situated on Farm number 4301/31 in Eureka Area.
In another count, it is alleged that Chimese and Chungu between January 2012 and February 2019, concealed and disguised the rights to ownership of nine flats, a single storey building, one Guest Wing and one semi detached cottage situated on Farm number 2303/Q in Ibex Hill, knowing or having reason to believe that the said property were proceeds of crime.
It is also alleged that Chimese on the same dates in Lusaka, possessed nine flats, one single storey building, one guest wing and one semi detached cottage situated on the said farm.
And in the last count, it is alleged that between January 2012 and February 2019, in Chilanga district, Chimese and his wife Sharon, possessed two houses on Farm number 4301 in Eureka Area, knowing that the said properties were processed of crime.