A ZAMBIA Revenue Authority (ZRA) officer has told the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court that he did not see any anomaly in the manner Leo Jonas Ngosa Investment Limited and Den Daas Investment Limited sold shares to Health Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya.
Mambwe Musungaila, a ZRA assistant director in charge of the Informal Sector and Medium Taxpayers Office Audit Unit for Lusaka Province, was testifying in a matter in which Dr Chilufya is charged with four counts of possession of property suspected to be proceeds of crime.
It is alleged in the first count that Dr Chilufya on a date unknown, but between December 1, 2016, and December 31, 2017, in Lusaka possessed US $200,000, which was used to purchase 6,000 shares in Samfya Marines and Tourism Services Limited from Den Daas Investment Zambia Limited, property suspected to be proceeds of crime.
In the second count, it is alleged that Dr Chilufya on a date unknown, but between January 1, 2017, and December 31, 2017 in Lusaka possessed K270,000 cash which was used to purchase 2,000 shares in Samfya Marines and Tourism Services Limited from Leo Jonas Ngosa Investment Limited, property suspected of being proceeds of crime.
In the third count, it is alleged that Dr Chilufya on an unknown date, but between January 1, 2018 and December 30, 2019, possessed K3,000,000 which was used to purchase Lot No. 365/366 also known as Spark Guest House situated in Mansa district of Luapula Property, property reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime.
In the last count, it is alleged that Dr Chilufya on a date unknown, but between January 1, 2017, and December 31, 2017, in Lusaka possessed US $52,000, which was used to purchase a passenger boat also known as Transport 32 from Smart Own FZE of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, property reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime.
When the matter came up for continued trial before Lusaka Chief Resident Magistrate Lameck Mwale, Friday, Musungaila testified that on July, 10, 2020, he was asked by his supervisor to provide information on the transfer of shares between Leo Jonas Ngosa Investment Limited and Dr Chilufya and further, between Den Daas Investment Limited and the accused.
He said he proceeded to provide documents on both transactions.
“I produced the following documents: a copy of sales agreement and transactions, ZRA assessment notices and ZRA Property Transfer Tax certificates for both documents,” Musungaila said.
He said on the documents, parties indicated on the agreements were Leo Jonas Ngosa Investment Limited as transferer and Dr Chilufya as transferee.
Musungaila said the number of shares sold by Leo Jonas Ngosa Investment Limited was 2,000 ordinary shares, while Den Daas Investment Limited sold 6,000 shares.
He said the assessment of transfer involving Leo Jonas Ngosa Investment Limited was K20,174.63, while Den Daas Investment Limited K95,100.
And Musungaila said ZRA was mandated to assess and collect property transfer tax on the transfer of property.
He explained that the purpose of doing so was because it was assumed that a person who sells property earns an income and therefore tax could be collected from that income.
Cross-examined by defence lawyer Tutwa Ngulube on who the taxpayer to ZRA was in respect of Den Daas Investment Limited, the State witness said it was Den Daas Investment Limited.
Further asked if they paid a correct tax amount, Musungaila said, yes, adding that tax was paid on time.
Asked if there was anything on the assessment showing a problem on how the shares were bought or sold, the witness said, no.
Another defence lawyer Jonas Zimba asked if the one who pays the Property Transfer Tax was the seller and not the buyer, and in response, Musungaila said it was the seller.
Asked if the officer from the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), who was investigating the matter had explained his mission to him, Musungaila said yes, adding that “his mission was to gather information relating to the two transactions concerning the transfer of shares to Dr Chilufya.”
After the witness concluded with his testimony, the State applied that the matter be adjourned to August 24, 2020, as they had only one witness.
“We only had one witness today. Reason being that the State is making arrangements for other witnesses to be brought as most of these witnesses require to travel as they are out of town today,” the State said.
But Ngulube said the proceedings were dragging at the instance of the State.
“These proceedings are dragging because the State appears to be investigating, while the matter is ongoing,” he said.
Ngulube requested that in the remaining agreed dates, the State prepare its witnesses in advance.
Magistrate Mwale agreed with the defence that the State had not prudently utilised the week, which was allocated for the case.
He urged the State to ensure that more witnesses were brought to court at the next sittings and adjourned the matter to August 24, 2020.
In the previous sitting, ACC Investigations Officer Chipambe Manda testified that the total value of assets that Dr Chilufya was accused of acquiring through proceeds of crime, was less than his known legitimate income.
Manda testified that the total value of assets that the Minister stands charged with as being proceeds of crime was K5,542,500, whereas his known legitimate earnings in the period under investigation exceeded K19 million.
And asked by the defence lawyers in cross-examination if he still believed Dr Chilufya committed an offence based on his findings, the State witness said no, adding that the embattled Health Minister had the capacity to acquire all the said properties from legitimate income.