THE Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) says it is investigating former Foreign Affairs Minister Joseph Malanji and former Minister of Health Dr Chitalu Chilufya for various financial crimes and money laundering activities.
And the Commission has also confirmed that outgoing President Edgar Lungu’s friend Valden Findley is being investigated for similar financial crimes.
Speaking at a media briefing, Friday, DEC Public Relations Officer Mathews Kamanga, however, clarified that Dr Chilufya’s accounts had not been ceased.
“The first case is concerning the former Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Joseph Malanji. I wish to confirm that Mr Malanji is under investigation by the Drug Enforcement Commission. These investigations did not start today or yesterday but these are investigations that date as far back as March 2021. The report that we received of various suspected financial crimes and money laundering and so the Commission has continued to conduct these investigations to this date. And so until we conclude, with the investigations, we will not be able to issue statements from time to time because as you know, we may risk jeopardising the investigations if we continue to divulge information like that. The second case that I would like to refer to is that of Mr Valden Findlay. It was reported in some sections of the media that we had ceased accounts for Mr Findlay. So I wish to confirm that the commission ceased accounts for Mr Findlay following a report that we received of also similar financial crimes and money laundering,” Kamanga said.
“Investigations are currently underway and as a Commission, we shall be able to issue a statement once we have concluded the investigations. The third case that I would like to refer to is that of former Minister of Health Dr Chitalu Chilufya. It has been reported that we had ceased his accounts. The official position of the Commission is that we have received reports about some suspected financial allegations of some sort and as a Commission we are investigating those particular reports. However, we have not ceased any accounts belonging to Dr Chitalu as yet. As you know a seizure of an account is part of the investigations and until such a time as we have concluded the investigations or such a time when we see it fit for us to cease an account, then we can do so.”
Kamanga said the Commission was confident that the pronouncement made by President-Elect Hakainde Hichilema that he would give freedom to law enforcement agencies would enhance public confidence.
“I wish to assure members of the public that the Drug Enforcement Commission’s mandate has continued with regards to financial crimes and money laundering investigations. This is what we are doing in conjunction with many other institutions. We are particularly delighted as a Commission by the pronouncements or the commitments that have come from the President-Elect who has promised that he will give freedom to law enforcement agencies such as ourselves so that we can not only operate independently but also to be sufficiently funded for our investigations,” said Kamanga.
“With that good will, what we believe in is that members of the public will be free or will have confidence that when they bring information to us, we will be able to act on them and some of the cases have dragged because members of the public have not been coming forth to furnish us with the information that we require. With this good will, we pray that members of the public will be able to come through and give us this information. This is in line with whistle blowers Act which is Act number four of 2010. It actually speaks to issues of public interest disclosure and we are praying that people will be able to bring forth information that is of public interest so that we can act on that information as a commission and be able to conduct the investigations. We therefore call on members of the public if they can contact the Commission through the public relations office.”