THE Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC), through its Anti-Money Laundering Investigations Unit in Lusaka, has arrested Kwacha PF Member of Parliament Joseph Malanji for money laundering activities involving K10 million and $700,000.
And DEC has seized Malanji’s Gibson Royal Hotel in Kitwe together with two of his helicopters which are currently in South Africa, and arrangements are being made bring them to Zambia.
But Malanji has threatened to sure the commission for damages, saying never in his life has he bought anything from proceeds of crime.
In a statement, Wednesday, DEC Public Relations Officer Mathias Kamanga said Malanji allegedly obtained a loan to facilitate for the renovations of Gibson Royal Hotel and later obtained K10,000,000, which is suspected to be proceed of crime, and used it to pay off the loan.
He said Malanji was believed to have also procured a helicopter at $700,000, property reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime.
“The Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) through its Anti-Money Laundering Investigations Unit (AMLIU) in Lusaka Province has arrested Kwacha Constituency Member of Parliament for money laundering activities involving K10 million and $700,000.00. Mr. Joseph Malanji, a male aged 56, residing at Plot Number 179 Acacia Road, Roma Park, in Lusaka, has been arrested for being in possession of property reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime contrary to section 71 subsection (1) of the Forfeiture of Proceeds of Crime Act No. 19 of 2010 of the Laws of Zambia,” Kamanga said.
“Particulars of the offence are that Joseph Malanji in his capacity as Director at Gibson Royal Hotel in Buchi, Kitwe did obtain a loan to facilitate for the development and renovations of the said hotel and that on dates unknown but between 1st January 2020 and 31st August 2021 jointly and whilst acting together with other persons unknown, did obtain K10,000,000.00, property reasonably suspected to be proceed of crime and used it to pay off the loan. In the second count, Mr. Malanji is believed to have procured a helicopter namely Bell 206 Jet Ranger at $700,000.00, property reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime. The hotel has since been seized together with the two helicopters (the other one being the helicopter he was arrested for earlier) which are currently in South Africa and arrangements are being made to have them brought into the country.”
And Kamanga said the Commission had jointly charged and arrested a former accountant and an accounts assistant at the former ministry of chiefs and traditional affairs for money laundering activities involving over K4 million.
“Meanwhile, the Commission in Lusaka has jointly charged and arrested a former Accountant and an Accounts Assistant at the former Ministry of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs for money laundering activities involving over K4 million. The two are identified as Augustine Mungandu, male aged 53, residing in Chamba Valley, Lusaka and Shadreck Matabishi, a male aged 45 of Plot 55504 Chalala, off Shantumbu Road. Particulars of the offence are that the duo on dates unknown but between 1st January 2019 and 30th November 2019 jointly and whilst acting together with other persons unknown did steal K3,533,770.51 from the Ministry of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs,” he said.
“The duo fraudulently withdrew money over the counter on Electronic Funds Transfer Advice (EFTA) which were in other people’s names as beneficiaries without their knowledge. It is further alleged that Mr. Augustine Mungandu and Shadreck Matabishi and other persons unknown, on dates known but between 1st January 2019 and 30th November 2019 did forge a letter instructing a named bank to transfer money amounting to K476,000.00 to an account from which they made several cash withdraws and used the money for their own personal benefit.”
Meanwhile, Kamanga said DEC had also arrested Gift Katuka of Solwezi for theft by public servant, forgery and uttering, and money laundering.
“Particulars of the offence are that Gift Mpulumba Katuka, an Assistant Registration Officer at the Department of National Registration, Passport and Citizenship office in Solwezi jointly and whilst acting together with other persons unknown on dates unknown but between 24th May 2018 and 11th February 2021 did steal K997,620.00 by purporting to have deposited the said money into the Government Account and even forged deposit slips when in fact not. A house at plot number 11291 in Kabitaka Extension in Solwezi has since been seized from the suspect. All the suspects are on police bond and will appear in court soon,” said Kamanga.
But in an interview, Malanji said he would not hesitate to sue for damages.
“You people work together now just to show that somebody is working by making unnecessary arrests. So I will not get the excitement of dancing to the media. I know who I am myself and I know how I came into government. I know how I came to parliament so such things do not bother me in any way. I know how I came and I know when I bought what. So those things do not bother me. Those people who know me in Kitwe when you look at even when they say we are seizing the hotel, people who know me from Kitwe know when I bought those premises. It was way back before I even had an idea of being an MP. In Bemba they say Mango taipila pamo (mangoes don’t ripen at the same time),” he said.
“At the end of the day, there will be repercussions, I mean I am going to sue. There will also be a provision for me, I am a citizen and there is a provision for me to sue for damages. Those who know me, know what is obtaining. I have never had anything bought from proceeds of crime myself. That is what I can say in short. I have never in my life bought anything from proceeds of crime. That you can be assured. We are waiting because it has been four months now since the arrest. We are waiting. Let these things not be a mere academic exercise. We are waiting to go to court.”
Malanji said he never even used to lobby for business from any ministry while he was in government.
“Even before coming into government, those who have stolen should volunteer and handover to government. How can I volunteer to hand over something I have worked for for years? You should find out from people who know me. The programme for helicopters started way back in 2003. That is when that programme was brought on the table. So this excitement is temporal and that I can tell you. The excitement is temporal. How can I be intimidated when I have not stolen? Intimidation is for thieves. If you go back, even in any other Ministry, you will not find any PS or Director who will tell you ‘he came here lobbying for this’. That was not happening. So we leave it at that,” said Malanji.