DRUG Enforcement Commission (DEC) public relations officer Mathias Kamanga says the Commission is investigating about 10 to 15 cases a week since the change of government.
And Kamanga says DEC is not investigating the Patriotic Front, but individuals who have been reported to the commission in their individual capacity.
Meanwhile, Kamanga says the Commission has made tremendous progress in the investigation of former foreign affairs minister Joseph Malanji and PF member Maxwell Chongu and will soon announce their findings.
Speaking on Hot FM’s Hot Breakfast Show, Wednesday, Kamanga said the Commission was currently investigating over 660 cases.
“This was happening before but this time we are dealing with politically exposed persons. I must state that the Commission is currently investigating over 660 cases. These cases have been reported in the past years that we have been in operation, so these cases, the difference is that they are now mainly involving politically exposed people. So they didn’t get as much attention as the cases that we are investigating now. So that is where the difference really comes in. You may wish to know that just in the past few weeks of the new government so to say, we have been dealing with about 10 to 15 cases per week. Some of them we have cleared and some we are still continuing in terms of investigation,” Kamanga said.
When asked to confirm PF member of the central committee Antonio Mwanza’s revelation that the Commission had asked him to reveal the source of funds for PF campaigns, Kamanga said he could neither confirm nor deny the said claims.
“He is a Zambian, he is entitled to his opinion and his opinion I think came after an interview which was long enough. I don’t think that is the only question that was asked to him. So, we respect his opinion as a Commission and we wouldn’t want to dwell on what he said because you can imagine if we were to talk about what everybody comes to say when they come, we would really have a lot of explaining to do. So Mr Mwanza is entitled to his opinion and we respect it,” he said.
“Unfortunately, that information came from him who was saying that we were investigating in that line, it didn’t come from us the institution. So I cannot confirm that that is the position of the Commission because Mr Mwanza is not speaking on behalf of the Commission. So, I cannot go into details why we called him but I can also not confirm that we are looking into the source of funding for the Patriotic Front.”
Kamanga, however, said the Commission was not investigating the PF but individuals who were reported to the Commission.
“Let me make it clear that we are not investigating the Patriotic Front; we are investigating individuals who have been reported to the Commission. If the person who has been reported is Maxwell Chongu for instance, then it is Maxwell Chongu who has to be called to the Commission to come and explain the various questions that have been asked about him. So, it is not really a call or an investigation that is on the Patriotic Front. If it gets there, we know who the people to call are, the law gives us the powers even to charge an institution. We are aware of those provisions of the law,” he said.
“These people that have been called so far, they have not been called because they are PF, they have been called in their individual capacity and they have been called because there are questions that have been asked about them. You know when someone is called, it is not like they are guilty or they have a case to answer, in many cases when we are conducting investigations there are times when you come across a document that was signed by Flavour for insistence, you come across some information that is leading to Honey, are you going to leave out Honey without interviewing her? No! You call her so that you ask the necessary questions and she clears the air.”
When asked if there was any progress in the investigation of former foreign affairs minister Joseph Malanji and PF member Maxwell Chongu, Kamanga said the Commission had made tremendous progress and would soon make announcements on the findings.
“Maybe the first thing I can say is that financial investigations are quite complex in nature. They are called white-collar crimes for a reason; it is because they are complex and they cannot be unearthed within the shortest period of time. On the two and a few others, the Commission has made tremendous progress in investigating those cases. We just want to call on members of the public to be patient with us, these are crimes that are committed by people who are educated, people who are instantly trying to hide their tracks and for us to come up with a case that can stand in court, that we can say can win us the case in court, we need to make sure that there is no stone that is left unturned. This is what we are doing. Very soon we may be making announcements or pronouncements of what the findings of these investigations are,” he said.
Further asked on whether DEC was also involved in the Faith Musonda investigation, Kamanga said the Commission was involved because it was a joint operation with the police.
“We have what we call joint operations and these joint operations are initiated by particular institutions to which a report has been made. So, in this instance, the report or tip was made to the Zambia Police who moved on site and as they were going on site, they invited us as DEC to join in the investigation. So, as we joined the investigation, we are working closely with them except that they are the lead investigating wing. If you look at the possible offence that can be with that particular case, it is falling under the forfeiture of Proceeds of Crime Act, which even Zambia police has jurisdiction to prosecute or to investigate matters that are related to that particular incident,” said Kamanga.
“Unfortunately, there is no law that forbids anyone from keeping any amount of money in their house. I am saying unfortunately because even if it is legitimately obtained money, to take out such a huge sum of money from circulation begins to affect the financial markets and the circulation of money in the country. But there is no law that forbids anyone from keeping any amount in cash whether it is at home or it is in a place that they desire as long as that money is legitimately obtained. The person must be able to show and demonstrate that this money was legally obtained and not illegally obtained.”