An Absa Bank Zambia employee has testified that between 2012 and 2014, former Zambia Air Force (ZAF) commander Eric Chimese withdrew over K1.5 million from his account for building materials, plot purchase, wages and contractors.

The State witness, who produced 11 bank vouchers relating to the said transactions, however, told the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court that there was nothing suspicious or illegal relating to the transactions.

This is a matter in which 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.

Testifying before Lusaka magistrate Nsunge Chanda, Wednesday, Esther Mwanza, a banker at ABSA based at Manda Hill branch, said the transactions which also included withdrawals by third parties, were made on different dates and years.

She explained that on July 24, 2018 the bank received a warrant requesting for vouchers or transactions of a bank customer done between the period of 2012 and 2014.

Mwanza said the requested vouchers which were computer system generated were retrieved for the transactions which were specifically requested.

She said the names that were appearing on the vouchers were for Chimese and his wife, Sharon, as it was a joint account at the bank’s Longacreas’ branch.

Mwanza further said the first voucher and bank statement was for March 23, 2012 in the amount of K120 million, unrebased and that the narration was for building materials.

She further said another voucher showed that K250 million unrebased was withdrawn from the bank on August 13, 2012 for purchase of a plot.

Mwanza further read out other vouchers and bank statements to the court.

“The next voucher is dated September 7, 2012. K200 million unrebased was withdrawn for building materials. The next voucher which is dated September 25, 2012 had a withdraw of K200 million unrebased for contractors. The next one is a voucher dated October 1, 2013. The amount of the voucher is K90, 000 for wages/building materials. The next voucher is dated October 2, 2013. It has a cash withdraw of K58 000 for building materials,” she said.

“The next voucher is dated October 4, 2013, the value which was withdrawn was K70, 000. The next voucher is dated October 10, 2012, the value withdrawn was K72 million unrebased. The next voucher is dated November 5, 2013 with the amount of K28, 000 for building.”

She further said on the next voucher, among others, there was a letter of instruction with the value of K480, 000 dated October 18, 2014 for purchase of construction materials.

Asked in cross examination by lead defence lawyer Kelvin Bwalya Fube whether senior officers in ZAF could send their juniors to do errands for them, the witness said yes.

Asked where the money on Chimese’s account came from, Mwanza said she did not have that information.

Further asked if she was aware that the said account was where Chimese received his gratuity on, Mwanza said she had seen a letter confirming the same.

She added that it was legal to be paid gratuity if you were on contract.

Asked if there were any suspicious dealings that the bank reported to the Drug Enforcement Commission in relation to the said account and the vouchers that she presented before court, the witness said she was not aware of any.

Also asked whether from the vouchers that she had produced there was anything suspicious or illegal according to the bank, Mwanza said no.

Trial continues on August 19, 2020.