STATE House sources have revealed that President Edgar Lungu is angry with the Anti-Corruption Commission because it is investigating politically exposed persons who are close to his inner circle, among them Savenda proprietor Clever Mhpoa, PF Lusaka Province chairperson Paul Moonga, and former Ministry of Defence permanent secretary Stardy Mwale.
And Moonga has confirmed being summoned by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) for investigations in a matter where he is accused of being a beneficiary of ZRA smuggling activities linked to his son, who has since been suspended by the Revenue Authority.
But ACC has asked for more time to study three of the four questions contained in a press query from News Diggers, in which the newspaper sought confirmation of the high profile cases that were under investigation.
News Diggers also asked ACC to confirm if it was true that the Commission had dropped the nine charges of corruption that were slapped on Tourism Minister Ronald Chitotela, due to political interference, but the Commission only confirmed investigating Stardy Mwale, saying they were not in a position to give responses on the other queries submitted.
Last Sunday, President Lungu lashed out at the Commission, accusing it of scheming to remove him from power.
“So those who are fighting corruption, where are they? …I have always said that the fight against corruption is anchored on politics trying to get rid of government and those who are doing well. They know where corruption is happening but they don’t even dare to go there because all they want is to get Edgar Lungu out of power,” said President Lungu during a tour of Chifubu market.
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Sources revealed that around July this year, ACC summoned Lusaka businessman, Mphoa, for interrogations and confiscated his cell phone which is allegedly believed to contain evidence of corruption, a development which did not please President Lungu.
“Basically, the President is concerned because in the recent past, ACC has been writing to people who are close to the President. One of the high profile cases that ACC is pursuing apparently is for Savenda [proprietor] Mphoa. From what we know, he was summoned around July, there about. This was in connection with Money laundering issues and some contracts. You can imagine, ACC went to the extent of confiscating his cell phone and they have been refusing to release it. So basically, that has not sat well with the boss,” the source revealed.
Sources revealed that Moonga benefitted from ZRA smuggling activities linked to his son, Paul Moonga Junior who is based in Ndola.
“What usually happens with ZRA smuggling activities is that PF cadres always work with some clearing agents and their clients who pay a lot of money to them so that they can facilitate the release of impounded or confiscated goods. Sometimes they use ZRA employees and this has been going on for a long time. In the Paul Moonga case, what happened is that some importer, I think he is Rwandese had his goods impounded by ZRA, so this person was introduced to Moonga who then referred this client to his son. His son who works for the Ndola ZRA office took up the matter to help facilitate the clearing of smuggled goods. But the problem that happened is that apparently, Moonga [senior] used the name of the ZRA Commissioner General, Kingsley Chanda, to get money from this client. He made the client believe that the Commissioner was the beneficiary of the deal, and that’s how that client started paying money through the son,” the source narrated.
“But it’s like along the way, some of the money they were getting was deposited in their accounts, and this is what raised a red flag. So at some point, this client could not manage to get his goods cleared and out of desperation, he went to confront the Commissioner General to say, ‘why are my goods still being held while you have been eating my money’, so the Commissioner General was shocked and that’s how he suspended Moonga’s son and referred the matter to ACC through a unit called Internal Affairs.”
The source said ACC then summoned Moonga [senior] who has not been cooperating.
But in an interview, Moonga claimed he has not been refusing to go to ACC, but described the institution as moribund and an agent of the opposition which was hell bent at breaking the ruling Patriotic Front.
He narrated the ordeal that led to his “innocent” son’s suspension from ZRA, saying his provincial youth secretary Ruth Kawana had approached him asking him to help an importer who wanted his goods admitted into the country.
“[That I have been refusing to appear at ACC] It is not correct. Just because Paul Moonga Junior is a son to Mr Paul Moonga, the boy is so innocent. My son Paul Moonga Junior was arrested in February. Ruth Kawana, Provincial women secretary came to my office with a person whom I don’t know. She said to me that ‘this man has goods that he wants to import in the country, how best can we link him to people who know how to clear goods?’ I said I have no idea. Then I said let me see if I can talk to my son who works for ZRA, maybe he would know somebody who can assist this layman. All I did was to link them to the phone number of my son Paul Moonga junior,” Moonga said.
“Later on, I was at a car wash in Matero and I was called by Ruth Kawana that ‘Paul junior has found us a clearing agent who would clear the goods.’ Little did I know that people were trying to use Ruth Kawana. I don’t know that person, I only met him once in my office. And even if you were to do a parade today, I can’t even recognize him. Remember, I am the chief executive officer for Lusaka Province for the PF. I told him I don’t know anything about clearing goods, however, let me see if my son can assist him and I gave them my son’s number.”
He narrated that the goods in question came in through Nakonde, but were impounded in Chisamba.
“My son after linking them to a clearing agent, they paid the money to the clearing agent in Nakonde there. I have never been to Nakonde in my life. Later, the goods came through Nakonde and were impounded when they reached Chisamba. That importer called me saying ‘boss, my goods have been impounded in Chisamba.’ I told him what am I supposed to do? I have got nothing to do myself. I asked him about how the goods left Nakonde to reach Chisamba? So, where does Paul Moonga get involved when Paul Moonga has never been to Nakonde?” Moonga asked.
He wondered why his son, whom he said was on police bond had not been taken to court.
“Now, my son was arrested and has been on police bond from around February. Just two days ago, they extended the police bond. I asked them to say ‘how do you extend a police bond for six months instead of going to court?’ I was called by ACC and I gave them one statement of my side of the story. The ACC officer had a 24 paged document of my statement, and the officer from ZRA had a four paged document about my statement. One statement from one person you write a 24 paged document? Is that normal?” Moonga asked.
“Just two days ago, my son’s bond has again been extended to 17th September. How do you keep on extending police bonds from February? This is the case. Is there any confidence? Traumatizing a small boy, the top most highly qualified CIMA holder in Zambia. That is your ACC.”
Moonga claimed that the ACC had been targeting ministers in President Lungu’s Cabinet, namely Dora Siliya, Vincent Mwale, Joe Malanji and Stephen Kampyongo.
“I have been quiet but now you have provoked me that is why I should talk about it. That is your ACC, they are excited. Whether there is a case or no case, they arrest. The ACC summoned me once and that is when they wrote a 24 paged document while the officer from ZRA had a four paged document. I complied when I was called. I was summoned by ACC yes. And I know there are a lot of people who have been arrested. Mr [Stephen] Kampyongo was arrested, Dora Siliya, Vincent Mwale, and [Joseph] Malanji. There is a chain of people who have been arrested claiming that PF is a corrupt party,” he revealed.
He went on to accuse the ACC of working with the opposition to remove PF from power.
When asked if his claim about the arrest of ministers was true, Moonga asked this reporter to hear it from him.
“Sponsored officers by ACC are being used by my fellow politicians outside the party. The ACC has become an agent of the opposition. There is a list of people who have been arrested to break the PF, take it or leave it. Chilufya has no case,” he said.
Moonga challenged the ACC to take him and his son to court, saying his son had been traumatized enough.
“Paul Moonga Junior is being traumatized. He was being told to be reporting every day and again stopped. The boy was suspended from ZRA from February to date. And to date, they can’t take him to court because the only way they can appear in court is to face Paul Moonga, when I am so innocent, and they know it. That’s why the ACC, is a moribund [institution]. I would really want to go to court. Let ACC arrest me and I will appear in court because I know I am innocent, we shall sue them. I have never been crooked in my life, at the age of 62 today. You can’t have a system which only targets the ruling party. Is corruption only in the ruling party? It takes two to tangle,” Moonga said.
“Who did I corrupt as Paul Moonga to have the goods released in Nakonde? Who did I pay money to release these goods dubiously? Can one officer from ZRA say ‘Mr Moonga told me to release these goods.’ ACC is there for corruption but did I corrupt somebody? Or who corrupted me? I want to appear in court. Can ZRA arrest me? We can go to court with my son. How can they keep extending the bond and my son is getting a full salary when the boy is not working. Can they stop paying my son if he is not working. You are paying a full salary to the person you have given extended police bond, for what? Then what are they investigating?”
And Moonga said it was nonsensical and stupid for the ACC keep his son under arrest without taking him to court, further daring ACC to jointly charge them.
“I went there because I am a law abiding citizen. I respect constitutional officers in Zambia. Any officer in Zambia is acting in the name of the President and I shall always comply with any officer in Zambia when I am called upon to go and appear. But I am frustrated. My son is now running a butchery in Ndola there, trying to find means. But he is still heavily paid every month. If my son is not taken to court on 17 September, ZRA should recast the bond. If they want, let them jointly charge us and we shall appear in court because we are innocent,” said Moonga.
“What stupidity is this? You cannot be extending police bonds every month. It has never happened in the history of Zambia where a police bond is extended every month. The other time they extended it saying that it is because there is COVID-19 but how come Honourable Chitalu Chilufya is appearing in court when there is COVID-19? What nonsense? The ACC has become a moribund. I have not been given a warn and caution statement. And if they want Paul Moonga to be arrested with his son, I am ready.”