BLACKFIRE Mining Limited has written to the office of the Inspector General of Police, the National Prosecution Authority (NPA), and the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ), complaining about State Council Eric Silwamba’s alleged interference in the prosecution of some Stanbic Bank officers accused of theft of money amounting to US $125, 000.
And the copied offices have acknowledged receipt of the complaint against SC Silwamba of Messrs Legal Practitioners.
In a complaint letter dated 15th December 2020 to the office of the Inspector General of Police, Blackfire director Gunston Kasempa charged that Silwamba had been meddling in the prosecution of his complaint against some Stanbic Bank employees allegedly involved in criminal activities.
“RE: Complaint over meddling in the prosecution of our complaint against individuals in the employ of Stanbic Bank Zambia Limited. We make reference to the captioned matter in which our company lodged a criminal complaint to the Zambia Police Service at Kitwe over the conduct of some Stanbic Bank officials whose details we believe are within your knowledge. The conduct we believe to be criminal. This relates to a set of events in which the said bank officials facilitated all but theft and/or money laundering of our company monies by a former Chief Executive Officer of our Company Mr David Lance Morris,” Kasempa stated.
He stated that the bank officials in question facilitated money laundering and theft of the company money of which Silwamba was allegedly interfering with investigations.
“As you may be aware sir, your capable officers at Kitwe acted swiftly to try and arrest the theft before it was completed and took out warrants to inspect the banker’s books. The warrants specified the accounts of interest. The warrants to inspect were duly signed by Courts of competent jurisdiction and promptly brought to the attention of the bank. The bank officials, subject to the complaints nonetheless, and despite being fully aware of the investigations by police, went ahead and facilitated more laundering/theft of the company monies by the aforementioned former executive of our company,” Kasempa stated. “The full details of the facts are well known to your anti-fraud officers in Kitwe and elsewhere. This was being done even when Mr Morris was out of jurisdiction and simply issued in our view illegal instructions through phone calls and internet communication. This investigation seems to be one that is being hindered and interfered with by one Mr Eric Silwamba SC who keeps writing letters and the officers in your office, specifically the people in the legal office, are now parroting what Mr Silwamba SC is writing in his letters.”
And in another letter dated December 21, 2020 addressed to the Law Association of Zambia, Kasempa accused Silwamba of professional misconduct.
“Blackfire Mining Limited (hereinafter called “the Company”) is a company incorporated in accordance with the Laws of Zambia. The Company maintains a USD account number 9130002523993 with Stanbic Bank Zambia Limited (hereinafter called “the Bank”) at its Longacres branch. A Mr. David Lance Morris was nominated as the sole signatory. On 19 June 2020, a sum of USD186,197.00 was paid into Blackfire’s account no. 9130002523993 by one of the company’s clients. Mr. Morris then became unreachable to other members of management and the Board. This raised suspicion and a check on the company account showed that on 29 June 2020, Mr. Morris had transferred USD125, 000.00 to his personal account no. 9130001040042. On 1 July, a report of theft was made to the police against Mr. Morris and a request to assist the company block the account.On 2 July, the Company passed a resolution to suspend Mr. Morris as Chief Executive Officer and removed him as a signatory to the company account,” Kasempa stated.
He stated that SC Silwamba’s law firm, which was engaged by the company to handle the matter, had been hindering investigations through his written opinions to the Law Enforcement Agencies.
“The Bank was served with the resolution, letter and a warrant to inspect the banker’s books so as to restrict debit transactions on the company account. The Bank did not offer any help in this matter. A complaint was lodged with the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) and the Zambia Police Service for money laundering aided by the Bank’s complicity in this matter. The Company lodged Complaints with Zambia Police and instituted civil action against the Bank. The Bank engaged Eric Silwamba, Jalasi and Linyama Legal Practitioners (hereinafter called “the Law Firm”) as their counsel. This investigation seems to be one that is being hindered and interfered with by one Mr. Eric Silwamba SC who has written a detailed letter giving his legal opinion to the Inspector General of Police and copied the Attorney General as well as the Director of Public Prosecution,” Kasempa added.
He also accused Silwamba of mounting and arguing his case in the corridors of the police station and not in Court.
“It is very surprising that Mr. Silwamba SC is very much aware of who our lawyers are in the civil mater but he has gone on to propose a settlement through the police and suggesting that Mr. Silwamba SC may have a special relationship with the police much to our disadvantage wherein he can settle matters Ex-Parte without involving us, the complainants. As you may well know, a fair trial is not only for the accused or suspect but is also for the complainant and this is a constitutional issue. It has also been dealt with in our jurisdiction in the case of Major Isaac Masonga v The People (2009) SCZ No. 24 of 2009,” Kasempa further stated.
“Therefore, in our view, Mr. Silwamba SC’s conduct is tantamount to interference of the worst kind and being done as a Senior Officer of the Court who has sworn to uphold the Constitution and the Laws of the Republic of Zambia. Mr. Silwamba SC appears to be mounting and arguing his case in the corridors of the police station and not in Court. He has, uncharacteristically, opted to attack the regularity or otherwise of the warrants that were issued and served on the Bank early on in the investigation. Mr. Silwamba SC is, in fact, trying to circumvent the law by covering the crime much to our dismay.”
Kasempa appealed to LAZ to intervene and make Silwamba accountable to his professional negligence.
Meanwhile, the law enforcement agencies have acknowledged receipt of the complaint as evidenced by the date stamps on the complaint letters.