The Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) has raided University of Zambia Lecturers and Researchers Union (UNZALARU) offices over suspected money laundering activities.
UNZALARU general secretary Dr Kelvin Mambwe confirmed this to News Diggers in an interview, saying a member of staff had reported the union to the commission after some financial information was leaked on social media.
He said during the raid, the commission demanded some documentation which could not be handed to them immediately, as it required time to be assembled.
“Yes, that’s very true the officers are here. They have been here since lunch time, they are looking for certain documentation that they suspect to be possible sources of money laundering. Now we are trying to reason with them that the nature of documentation they need requires some time for us to put together. It’s quite a comprehensive list of documentation that they need. They want it immediately and so we have told them that since they have come with a search warrant, they can go ahead and that search will not yield anything because certain documentation that they may not easily find,” said Dr Mambwe.
“But you see, all financial transactions have a trail so if they are really co-operative, they will be able to do the investigations without any major hurdles because there is nothing to hide. It’s connected to that yes (statement of finances leaked on social media). Yes, so one of the members of staff complained to DEC, and that’s why we are here.”
And in an 8-paged letter addressed to all its members, earlier in the day, UNZALARU refuted claims that it was corrupt and explained some purported suspicious financial transactions.
Union president Dr Evans Lampi wrote that the financial information was leaked to online media outlets by former union treasurer Mtumbi Goma, who had plans to re-contest the position
“In the last few days, the UNZALARU Executive has received a number of questions from members of the Union concerning the publication, on a Facebook media page named Koswe, of selected transactions on the bank account of the union. In particular, members have sought to know the source or persons behind the stories and their possible motivations, and the veracity of the allegations of abuse on the part of the Executive,” the letter read.
“Ordinarily, we would have liked to respond to these questions at the Quadrennial Congress, but we note the gravity of the allegations and the need to put the matter to rest. We therefore found it necessary to respond now so that members can be in the know ahead of the elections. We have nothing to hide and have run the Union on the principles of transparency and accountability. If, following this response, any member is unsatisfied, we remain ready to answer any questions, present documentary evidence in support of what we are stating here, and to be prosecuted for any violation of ethics or laws, or abuse of office.”
He stated it evident showed that Goma illegally received all bank statements.
“So, let us deal with the issues raised one by one and present a full exposure of how the Union monies are managed. The source behind the publication of selected Union transactions, following investigations, the Executive has now formally established that Mr Mtumbi Goma, the former treasurer of UNZALARU who is also aspiring for the same position in Friday’s election, has been receiving bank statements of the Union’s account over the last four years until 9 November 2020. Bank evidence shows that the statements have been going to the email addresses email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org,” Dr Lampi wrote.
He said it was up to the members to judge if the union had done anything wrong.
“It is up to you the members to judge whether we have done anything wrong. We believe that we have committed no wrong and ask members to continue holding the executive to account. We are mere custodians of your resources and assets. You the membership have the constitutional obligation to hold us to account. We simply request that you do not scandalise nor falsely and maliciously accuse innocent people in the name of exposing our alleged shortcomings,” wrote Dr Lampi, who also individually addressed all financial transactions which were in question.
“We are intellectuals and our regulations are among he most prized individual assets. If any member, including Mr. Goma, feels that we have done anything wrong, they have the right to demand clear answers from us and we have the duty to provide them. We repeat: please hold us to account but do not maliciously taint our reputations and scandalise innocent people especially in media outlets that have no traceable addresses that can enable those accused falsely to seek legal action. Reputations are earned after a long time of consistent behaviour. One ‘stupid idiot’ is enough to melt it all away in a single act of foolishness.”