A Registrar from the Ministry of Lands has told the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court that the two properties that Housing and Infrastructure Development minister Ronald Chitotela and two others are accused of concealing are still registered in the names of the original owners, Austin Liato and Mary Lubinga.
And a Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) senior inspector has told the Court that China Harbour had not withheld payment of withholding tax relating to a transaction of US$300,000.
This is the matter in which Chitotela and three others are facing four counts of concealing and being in possession of properties suspected to be proceeds of crime.
It is alleged in one of the counts that Chitotela, Gregory Chibanga and Brut Holdings Limited, between July 3, 2016 and October 30, last year in Lusaka, concealed lot number 148 of farm 50A situated in Makeni disguised in the names of Diris Mukange, property reasonably suspected of being proceeds of crime.
It is further alleged that the trio between the same dates concealed part of subdivision A lot 22183/M situated in Ibex Hill, Lusaka, disguised in the name of Diris Mukange, property reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime.
A witness from Bank of China had previously told the court that ACC officers approached the bank a couple of months ago requesting for information pertaining a US$300,000 transaction between China Harbour to Andrew and Partners.
And when the matter came up for continued trial before magistrate David Simusamba, Wednesday, a registrar from the Ministry of Lands told the court that the two properties that Chitotela and two others are accused of concealing were registered in the names; Austin Liato and Lubinga Kateya.
William Mwale, 55, said last year ACC officers approached the ministry to establish the status and ownership of two properties namely lot 22183/M/A and farm 50A/148.
“I proceeded to produce a print out from our land register and provided it to the officers,” he said.
Mwale said the registered owners of the two properties were Liato and Kateya.
In cross examination the witness said nothing had changed about the ownership of the two properties.
And a ZRA senior inspector Alick Kambani told the court that ZRA was served with a warrant for access to information pertaining Brut Holdings Limited.
He said in the warrant, ACC wanted specific tax information involving a transaction amounting to US$300,000.
“As per procedure, the access to information is given to ZRA commissioner in charge of domestic taxes and assigned to the unit where I belong for us to give the required information. I provided the document called Tax Payer Compliance Status in relation to the first warrant of access relating to Brut Holdings,” he said
Kambani explained that the Compliance Status Report shows the name of the tax payer and the type of tax it registered for.
He added that it also shows the number of returns that the tax payer paid.
Kambani however said the Compliance Status Report did not show the US$300,000 transaction.
“This document does not show the US$300,000 transaction but shows transactions such as zeros. The zeros means that income was not declared on the returns,” he said.
Kambani further said a Compliance Status Report in respect to Andrews and Partners showed that the tax payer was compliant.
He said ACC also wanted information on China Harbour tax affairs.
Kambani said after a search, he found that the tax payer was registered with ZRA for withholding tax, income tax and VAT, but added that with regards to withholding tax, China Harbour had not withheld a payment relating to US$300,000.
“What we found is that the tax payer is registered with ZRA for withholding tax, income tax and Value Added Tax. The tax payer had not withheld payment of withholding tax relating to US$300,000 that was initially included on the warrant of access to information,” he said.
When he was asked in cross examination by one of the defence lawyers, James Mataliro, whose income the US$300,000 was, the witness said it was for Andrews and Partners.
And a Civil Engineer from Bicon Zambia Limited told the court how ACC asked for information concerning Kawambwa-Mporokoso road some time last year.
Davies Chansa, a director said he told the officers that the Road Development Agency (RDA) engaged his company to provide consultancy services, detailed engineering and preparations of tender documents for the road.
“We prepared the tender document and design cost of the road. We captured what we found on site and proposed the works which the contractor should carry out on site,” he said.
Asked by Matarilo in cross examination if he would know whether RDA had engaged any other consultants to prepare a similar report over the same stretch of road, the witness said no.