PF vice-president Given Lubinda says he was summoned by the Anti-Corruption Commission because his company entered into a loan agreement with a Chinese Company in 2016.
But the ACC says Lubinda was warned and cautioned on allegations of corruption.
Speaking to journalists after appearing before the ACC, Monday, Lubinda said he was made to sign a warn and caution statement without engaging his lawyers.
He wondered when obtaining a loan became an offence.
“As a law-abiding citizen, I decided to present myself only to be told [that] the whole state machinery is investigating me on a matter on which my company borrowed money from another company. I wonder when it has become an offence for a director of a company to borrow money from another company. I wonder when this has become a corrupt matter. I was thinking maybe they will tell me [that] when I was Minister of Agriculture I maybe sold fertilizer which was for the State or that I awarded a contract dubiously. They invite me here to tell me that in 2016, you entered into a loan agreement with a Chinese company and that that Chinese company gave you a loan,” Lubinda said.
“I am yet to go to court to go and hear when obtaining a loan has become an offence. What is even worse is that I said you have read this matter to me, I have my counsel, can you give me time to consult my counsel and they said ‘no, we will not give you any time to consult Counsel. We will just warn and caution you’. It is my constitutional right to be represented adequately by counsel and I cannot be represented by counsel before counsel understands the matter on which I am being charged and yet the warn and caution was read out to me and I was made to sign it without being given time to instruct my lawyers, what is happening to this country? Where are we headed?”
Lubinda said the “occupant of State House” gave instructions to the investigative wings.
“The one thing I would like to say is that the investigating officer even said to me ‘I have instructions that this matter must end, I have to go to my supervisors’. We know why investigative wings of government were transferred from being independent to being put at State House, we know that the supervisor is no other than the occupant at State House, he is the one giving instructions. But let me make this clarion call to Zambians, this harassment of PF [members] shall not bring us to our knees, instead it is going to make us even stronger!” he said.
“Arrest me for my company borrowing, when my company borrows, is it your money? Ni ndrama za nyoko? (Is it your mother’s money)? In the event that I fail to pay back the loan, it is not you who will redeem me, I will have to sell my own assets to redeem that loan. Of what interest is it to you? My friends in PF, let us go out in Kabwata and campaign and teach them a lesson.”
Lubinda insisted that PF members should be ready to be harassed and questioned.
“On several occasions, I have spoken to members of the Patriotic Front through you members of the press and I have told them to brace for the hard times that we are living [in]. I have said to the members of the PF that they must be ready to be harassed, they must be ready to be questioned, they must be ready to be raided. If my colleagues have been raided, if my colleagues have been questioned, what about me who is currently at the epitome of the party, how can they spare me? They can’t spare me. I have stated before that even former president Edgar Chagwa Lungu has said that we know who they are looking for and instead of going directly to him, they want to go first to the other people,” he said.
“That is what they have done now, they have gone and harassed all members of the PF, they have harassed members who are ordinary citizens of Zambia. Small little people in little compounds, they have had their homes broken into, they have had their shops damaged, they have had their businesses destroyed, they have harassed members of the party, they have harassed members of the Central committee.”
He urged investigative wings not to act on allegations or rumour mongering.
“They sang the song of corruption against PF all the time that we were in opposition and now they want to try and prove the allegations. But look, for all the matters that they have investigated so far, how many have they taken to court and succeeded? I have said before that the PF is going to stand ready to support them in the fight against corruption but it must be matters that they can follow and not simple allegations, not rumour mongering,” said Lubinda.
“If you hear that this one has bought a car, you follow them and ask them ‘can you show us how you bought the car’ you go and ask people that ‘prove that this is your property’ as though they don’t know how to prove who is the owner of the property. If they want to prove the ownership of the property of a car, they go to RTSA and find out. If they want to know property ownership of a house, they go to the Ministry of Lands, they go to the council. They don’t go to suspects and say that can you prove that this is not your car. How can you run a country like that?”
But in a statement, ACC spokesperson Queen Chibwe said Lubinda was warned and cautioned in connection with allegations of being in possession of property reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime.
Chibwe said Lubinda was summoned to the Commission as a suspect and that all procedures related to summoning of a suspect by an investigating agency were dully followed.
“The Anti-Corruption Commission has warned and cautioned Patriotic Front Acting President Given Lubinda on allegations of corruption. Mr Lubinda aged 58, appeared before the ACC today in the company of his three lawyers and was warned and cautioned in connection with allegations of being in possession of property reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime contrary to the Laws of Zambia. Mr Lubinda was summoned to the Commission as a suspect and as such all procedures related to summoning of a suspect by an investigating agency were dully followed,” stated Chibwe.