OFFICERS from the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday raided three properties belonging to former Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations Amos Chanda, seizing various items in the process.
But Chanda has vowed that he will not be used as a scapegoat and says he will not take nonsense from criminals.
The three properties which were searched were; a farm in Njolwe named Golden Heights Farm Estates, a house which was leased out in State Lodge and another house on Elm Road in Woodlands.
About 10 ACC officers arrived at Chanda’s farm in Njolwe at around 11:00 hours with a search warrant. They, however, proceeded to search the premises in Chanda’s absence as he was not present at the time.
The search warrant indicated Mayaya Farms but the farm which was searched was Golden Heights Farm.
After about two hours, Chanda finally arrived in the company of his lawyer Lusenga Mulongoti but he found that the officers had already left.
The officers then went to Chanda’s State Lodge house and began another search around 13:00 hours.
When Chanda arrived at this property, he was denied entry on the basis that he was in the company of journalists. Earlier, the officers had grabbed cameras belonging to Prime TV journalists in a bid to stop them from covering the search. They, however, returned them after a while.
Meanwhile, close sources revealed that K95,000 was seized by ACC during the search at the leased out State Lodge property.
By press time, the ACC officers were searching Chanda’s other house in Lusaka’s Woodlands area.
Speaking to journalists, Chanda accused the ACC of trying to dent President Hakainde Hichilema’s image.
“I was told on the phone that they have new impetus from the President to clean up. Having worked in State House myself, I can give President Hichilema the benefit of doubt that criminal elements like this can purport to act on political instructions when in fact not. They have a fake court order here to search my property which is not listed on this thing. They told me to come so that they could search my property but here they have blocked me. I have asked a question ‘who are you’, they are hiding under the cover of the courts, criminals misrepresenting state institutions,” he said.
“We want a credible anti-corruption fight, if there is a case about me, I am prepared to be tried. But I am not going to take nonsense from criminals like you. Identify yourself, who are you? If they didn’t call me I wouldn’t have wasted my time. What is more sickening is that this person purported that they have political instructions to clean up. Now we are actually retreating into what we saw in the political campaigns as a mafia state. These people are making the government look worse than what they have been criticizing; that you seize private property without a court order; that if it is Amos Chanda, his rights are suspended because it is Amos Chanda. Then when you ask him, an idiot like this one, ask them, who is he? He says ‘I can’t identify myself’.”
Chanda said he would never be used as a scapegoat in the corruption fight.
“Let me make a political statement, what these criminals are looking for, they will not find. I want to make two points very clear that never ever again, as long as Zambia is a democratic state will I be used as a scapegoat. I served in the previous government, corrupt elements used me as a scapegoat, they alleged all sorts of things. These organisations conducted 16 investigations against me when I was in the State House. I resigned on my own volition, two and a half years, I have not been in government, what I have not done in the two and a half years that they can attribute to abuse? I will not be used as a scapegoat, not for the sins of the so-called PF government, not for the sins of the UPND government,” he said.
“Whether the PF government was corrupt or not, I cannot tolerate this incompetence, this lawlessness from the ACC. These are people risking our lives by thieves who are hiding, criminals down the sewers, they are putting our lives in danger. That criminal behavior is being headed by criminals purporting to be acting for the Anti Corruption Commission.”
He said the ACC, in its current form, couldn’t fight corruption.
“Let me make it clear that the Anti Corruption Commission in its current form cannot fight corruption. The evidence of that is this, look at the criminal nature of this man, that man and whoever is in there. I will take action, my lawyer is here, I will this afternoon be writing to President Hakainde Hichilema. This is being a scapegoat, I am being used as a sacrificial lamb. What have they got against me? What are they looking for? Are they looking for an opportunity to plant contraband so that they can attribute it to me? That is a possibility! I don’t know what they have ceased from the farm in my absence. That is why I am calling this behavior criminal! There is only one possibility; these people were on a mission to plant contraband to implicate me. So for now, I can identify the warrant but it lists a different property,” said Chanda.
“Even in the so-called lawless government, I have never seen anything like this, this is extraordinary. He (Mulongoti), I have instructed him to write to the ACC director general. I will take political responsibility myself to inform the President about this and that it is being done in his name. If they have anything, let them tell me. I am not corrupt, this thing of trying to intimidate somebody in the night, then in the day…Look, you will not get a single cent from me, I am not corrupt, I have not stolen anything, I served in government with distinction. I know what you are doing, if you think this is a small thing, you wait.”
And ACC spokesperson Queen Chibwe confirmed that the commission was conducting an investigation on Chanda.
“Yes, I can confirm that there is an investigation underway. We are not divulging the details right now because it is ongoing. At an appropriate time, we will be able to give that information,” she said.
Asked why the warrant indicated Mayaya Farms and not Golden Heights Farms, Chibwe said she needed to counter check that fact.
“That one I will have to confirm because I haven’t seen the search warrant but I can confirm that they are ACC officers,” said Chibwe.