TRANSPARENCY International (TI) Zambia Chapter president Rueben Lifuka says the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) should immediately rescind the appointment of Nsengiyumva Appolinaire as a member of the firm following allegations levelled against him.
And Lifuka says government should seriously address the allegations levelled against President Edgar Lungu, adding that the statements which have been made by State House and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, so far, are confusing.
A News Diggers Investigation revealed that the Rwandese national called Nsengiyumva Appolinaire, who was named by that country’s rebel leader Maj Nsabimana Sankara Callixte in a court testimony as his link to President Edgar Lungu is actually a member of the IDC procurement committee in Zambia.
Responding to a press query on this investigation, Lifuka asked President Lungu to rescind Appolinaire’s appointment.
“Given that the government has expressed a desire to go and investigate why Major Nsabimana made allegations against Zambia and President Lungu, we would like to urge that the starting point should be to talk to Mr Nsengiyumva Appolinaire who is reported to be in Zambia. There should be no stone left unturned and no sacred cows in the search for the truth in this matter. Given the allegations against Mr. Nsengiyumva, we call on the Group CEO for the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), to immediately rescind his appointment on the IDC Procurement Committee,” Lifuka said.
“Similarly, government should relieve Mr Nsengiyumva of any positions where he serves as Board member or Board subcommittee member of other State Owned Enterprises or parastatals. Government entities should be insulated from these allegations and the gentleman should cease any association with public entities. We want to see seriousness in the way that this issue is handled and not the usual pedestrian approach we have witnessed in response to previous media exposes and allegations against government officials.”
Lifuka said the government had an obligation to seriously address the matter.
“The revelations made by Major Nsabimana in his ongoing court case in Rwanda, make for very sad reading and it is our sincere hope that there is no iota of the truth in it. The Zambian government has an obligation to address this matter in a serious manner given the potential strain that this allegation may cause in the cordial relationship that this country enjoys with Rwanda. In instances of this nature, obfuscation in government statements in response to the allegation, simply serves to add to further and unnecessary speculation. We want to urge the Zambian government to provide clear, and relevant information on this matter to the public and this should be done at the earliest opportunity. The statements made so far from State House and the Minister of Foreign Affairs are ambiguous and still leave a number of questions unanswered,” stated Lifuka.
IDC confirmed to News Diggers that Appolinaire was a procurement committee member of the country’s parent company of government owned enterprises.
“Mr. Nsengiyumva Appolinaire, a procurement specialist, is one of the external members of the IDC Procurement Committee. He was first appointed in 2015 by the then Chief Executive Officer in accordance with the PPA of 2008 Section 13(2)(a) and Section 17(1). He was re-appointed in 2018, in accordance with the PPA of 2008. He holds no other position at the IDC,” read the response to a press query.
Asked who appoints procurement committee members, the IDC said it was the responsibility of the the Chief Executive.
“Members of the IDC Procurement Committee are appointed by the Group Chief Executive Officer in his capacity as Controlling Officer, as stipulated in the Public Procurement Act (PPA) of 2008. The IDC Board of Directors does not participate in the appointment of the Procurement Committee or any other matters related to IDC as a procuring entity, as these are handled in accordance with the PPA,” the response read.
And Appolinaire told News Diggers! that he has heard about the allegations levelled against him, but declined to explain his links to the rebel movement in Rwanda and his association with President Lungu, saying he was not in a position to talk about the issue because he had been unwell for the past seven months.
President Lungu has vehemently refuted media reports linking him to terrorist financing in Rwanda.
Rwandese rebel leader Maj Sankara, who faces 17 charges including Terrorism and murder in Rwanda, told that country’s High Court for International and cross-border crimes that his group, National Liberation Force (FLN) received money from the Zambian President to launch attacks against that country’s current regime.
“Early 2019 before I was arrested, One Nsengiyumva Appolinaire a leader of PDR, one of the many political parties that form MRCD travelled to Zambia to meet Lungu to discuss how he would offer them more support,” Maj Sankara told the court, Monday, claiming they received US$150, 000 towards the cause.
On Friday last week, upon returning from Kigali where he met President Paul Kagame as President Lungu’s special envoy on diplomatic engagements around the issue, Foreign Affairs Minister Joe Malanji said the allegations bordered on national security, and as such government would launch investigations to establish how the rebel leader could link President Lungu to his terrorist activities.