ZESCO Manager for Corporate Services Kennedy Chisanga has told the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court that a ZESCO bill or an account is not proof of ownership of a property.
Chisanga told the court in his testimony that an application was submitted to ZESCO for connection of 12 power points to property no. 38/488, Twin Palm Road in Ibex Hill, and that the customer’s name was that of former Zambia Air Force (ZAF) commander Lieutenant General Eric Chimese.
The State witness was testifying in a matter where Lt Gen Chimese and Chita Lodge director James Chungu are charged with abuse of authority of office and money laundering relating to properties in Ibex Hill and Lilayi area in Lusaka.
In count one, it is alleged that between June 2013 and June 2018 in Lusaka, Lt Gen Chimese, being a public officer at the time, namely ZAF commander, 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 the government of Zambia.
In the second count, it is alleged that Lt Gen 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 Lt Chimese and Chungu, on dates unknown but between January 2012 and February 2019 in Lusaka, 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 Lt Gen 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, knowing that the said properties were proceeds of crime.
When the matter came up for continued trial before Lusaka magistrate Nsunge Chanda, Monday, Chisanga told the court that the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) requested for the accounts that ZESCO had pertaining to plot no. 488/38 along Twin Palm Road in Ibex Hill.
He added that when he checked on their system, he found 12 accounts under Lt Gen Chimese’s names.
“I printed the screenshots of those 12 accounts and submitted to DEC. The 12 accounts are under Eric Mwaba Chimese. The 12 accounts mean that there are 12 points where ZESCO has supplied electricity at plot 488/38 Twin Palm Road, Ibex Hill. That’s according to the information we have at ZESCO,” the witness said.
Asked in cross examination by Lt Gen Chimese’s defence lawyer Kelvin Bwalya Fube if he personally visited the Ministry of Land to verify the owner of property plot 38/488, the witness said he did not.
Fube then put it to the witness if he was aware that the plot number that he talked about throughout his testimony did not exist, but Chisanga said he did not know.
Chisanga added that he did not know who filled in the customer application form.
Fube then asked if a ZESCO bill or an account was proof of ownership of a property, to which the witness responded in the negative.
The witness confirmed that the Plot number (2303/Q, Ibex Hill) on the charge sheet was not the one on the documents (plot no 488/38) that he produced before court as exhibit.
He added that he didn’t know where the actual plot no 488/38 Twin Palm Road, Ibex Hill was.
Asked who the owner of the title he had brought to court concerning property no 38/488 was, the witness said it was for Lt Gen Chimese and that it was issued on April 23, 2014.
And when the defence lawyer showed him another title and asked who the registered owner was, the witness said Chita Lodge and that the title was issued on July 1, 2012.