PF secretary general Davies Mwila has explained that the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) quizzed him on some payments which a mysterious person made to media houses on behalf of the former ruling party.
Mwila said the party has engaged a law firm to make payments to media houses for advertising, but before the party could transfer the money, some unknown person deposited the cash and cleared the bill.
But Anna Mwewa Mwitwa of AMLP has explained that she did not know who was depositing the money, but she had a contract with the PF to pay media houses for the services that were rendered to the former ruling party.
Mwitwa added that she had so far cooperated with the investigative wings.
On Thursday, DEC public relations officer Mattias Kamanga confirmed that the Commission interrogated Mwila but did not disclose the reasons why. Kamanga, however, said Mwila was being investigated in his personal capacity.
But in an interview, Mwila said the law enforcement agency was trying to establish who cleared PF’s advertising debt to media houses.
“Yes, these guys called me. So we had signed contracts with media houses to make adverts. On top of that, we had engaged a lawyer in between who was supposed to pay the media houses. Once we pay the lawyer, she pays the media houses. All of a sudden, we discovered that all the media houses had been paid. So, we don’t know who was putting money in that law firm. So that is the issue. Because the deposits are there to show who was depositing the money in that law firm,” Mwila said.
“According to accounting standards, because it is me who signed the contract, I am supposed to pay the law firm. I never paid the law firm. So that is where the issue is. So, we were trying to find out who paid and where the money was coming from. I went there, they wanted me at 15, I told them ‘let’s go at 11 because I have not stolen any money’. So, I told them if they want me, let them call me. So that is where we are, anything you will call me. We have nothing to hide.”
Mwila wondered why DEC did not undertake the said investigations before there was a change of government.
“The question: where were they all this time? Where were they? That is the issue. They should have done this before a change of government. Where were they? That is the issue and that is our concern. But anyway, we are there to cooperate,” said Mwila.
Contacted for a comment, Mwitwa confirmed that her firm received money, but said she was constrained to give full details because she respected “client-lawyer confidentiality”.
“I was engaged in my professional capacity with clear instructions that money would be coming into the client’s account to be paying media houses for services that they were procuring. These contract were done by the same person, so for me to go into the details where he is saying he doesn’t know who was depositing the money, I can’t say much, but I don’t think that is for me to say. It was upto them as a secretariat to know. All I know is that I was engaged and the expectation was that money would be deposited for me to pay for these services. I don’t know who Jack was or who John is. I don’t know who was depositing,” Mwitwa said.
“Where the money was coming from, as I told DEC, I don’t know. I was told that there was a mobilisation committee that would be mobilising funds, but I don’t know who was depositing the money. All I know is that the money that was being deposited had a purpose. It was for payment to the over 63 media houses that they had signed contracts with. I didn’t sign those contracts. No one can say the lawyer was there when they were signing the contracts, I don’t know the terms. I was just instructed that nga ni ZNBC, K11 million and so on. It was a schedule, 10 per cent billboards and things like that. So it’s very sad, but you know that what politicians can do.”
Asked if the money her law firm received was via bank transfer or cash deposits, Mwitwa said the money was despisited in cash.
“It was cash transfer with a reference that guided us that the money was for media houses. So it was not like money came from Mary then I was surprised to see it, no. I knew it was for purposes of the media, as long as I saw the name in the reference. So whoever was depositing the money put the reference there. Whether it was not himself or he authorised someone to do it, for me I had that mandate that some people would be depositing money under that reference. That’s how it came,” narrated Mwitwa.