FORMER Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo says he cannot worry about where his family will be because they are actually on Easter vacation.
And Lusambo says ACC officers are a bunch of amateurs who do not know what they’re doing, adding that he spent his hard earned US$150,000 on his dream house.
Meanwhile, ACC says all tenants occupying Lusambo’s seized property will be asked to vacate the premises.
Yesterday, the ACC seized Lusambo’s house in Lusaka’s Chamba Valley, including properties in the same area worth K22.8 million on allegations that they are suspected to be proceeds of crime.
“The ACC has seized properties worth over 22.8 million Kwacha belonging to former Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo, property suspected to be proceeds of crime. The properties are plot F/609/E/44/B/3, F/609/E/44/B/4, F/609/E/44/B/5, F/609/E/44/B/6, F/609/E/44/B/7, F/609/E/44/B/8 and F/609/E/44/B/9 and subdivision 50 at farm E of farm No. 609. All these properties are located in Lusaka’s Chamba Valley area. The said properties were acquired and constructed by Mr. Lusambo using suspected proceeds of crime and the Commission reasonably believes and suspects that the properties are still registered in another person’s name,” ACC spokesperson Queen Chibwe stated.
“The seizure is in accordance with Section 58(1) of the Anti-Corruption Act of No. 3 of 2012. The seized properties are in connection with an ongoing investigation.”
Commenting on the seizure in an interview, Lusambo said his wife and kids were currently on vacation
“I am not in the country, I am outside the country. My wife took the kids for an Easter vacation just within the country. They told me that we want to go out and I told them okay you can go out. I am 47 years old and God has been keeping me all along. I cannot get worried about where my family will be tonight. God is always there for us because we are not criminals, we have never touched our fingers in government coffers and whatever things we have, we have earned them through sweat and blood after a period of so many years. Even the house in question, ask the people in Chamba Valley because I am a Kaunda Square boy. I started constructing that house in 2013. I got a plot from Mr Washington Zimba who is still my neighbor,” Lusambo said.
“My house is sitting on a 26 by 30 meter plot. That is a very small plot. I was not in government when I started building in 2013. I was just struggling to make sure that I have accommodation for my family. That house cannot be built in one, two or three years. That house has been built for the past eight years. I shifted into that house in December 2018 or 2019. It is not even about hiding because that house is not yet even finished. I am still beautifying the place because that is my dream house. The only person with a plan for that house is me. I have been building and breaking it because I copy styles from the countries I have travelled to.”
He said he was out of the country looking for money to sustain his “expensive” family because ACC officers couldn’t afford to feed them.
“These people are trying all sorts of things but they are young. They are amateurs and they do not know what they are doing. Those guys at ACC are just excited and being used to settle political scores from Mr Hakainde Hichilema. So I am not even scared of them. They are liars. I work with my lawyers. I was supposed to be in court this week but I was not feeling well and I went to the hospital and they gave me bed rest. My lawyers wrote to ACC asking them to indicate to us which day ACC would be willing to receive us. Up to date, they have not responded to that letter. They now started looking for me but I told them I am not a criminal. I was not even part of privatisation,” he said.
“I have been going to ACC and if they want me, they can just summon me. If I am not ready to go there, I can indicate that I am not ready. I cannot be living for ACC because I have got other things to do. I have kids, a wife, a family and I have to look for food to feed them. ACC cannot feed my family. The Silumesis of this world, the Siwakwis cannot feed my family. They are too young to feed my family. My family is very expensive, they cannot be fed by ACC so I have to look for food for them. There is nothing that I can fear about them, including what they have done today because I am even smiling.”
And Lusambo said the house in question was just normal and could be owned by anyone.
“That is a normal house. The thing which makes my house different is just the pillars. So ACC is just a bunch of jokers. Even the properties they have seized, have you had an opportunity to access my second gate? It is not even possible for ACC to access the second gate. If you pass through the first gate, you will pass through the park and you will see the unfinished building that is not even my absolute building. The one who sold me that land, it belonged to the daughter called Kombe Zimba. She is from Sweden. We entered into the transaction with the father so that the place is not crowded,” Lusambo said.
“So they told me you can buy this plot and find a plot for us. We are still paying for this plot somewhere and he is still holding on to the papers because I have not even finished paying and the papers are in the daughter’s name. So these guys, their excitement is short lived. I am actually laughing at them because they do not have things to do. I was a Minister for five years, I have been MP for five years, my gratuity, my salary and loans from the bank. How can I fail to build accommodation for my family? If they are fools who can fail to build, let them be. For us, we put families first. Have you ever seen me in a night club? Have you ever seen Bowman drinking anywhere? I am not like that.”
Lusambo said he spent $150,000 on his dream house and he was yet to finish constructing certain features.
“The little money which I earn, I invested in that building. That building is not finished. I am constructing a bar behind and there is also a fish pond which is supposed to be there. I am not even finished. When they came, they were shocked at things they are not even supposed to be shocked about. I started constructing that property in 2013 and I was the second person in that area to put up a building. The person who sold me the plot where the animals are is Brian who works for the Ministry of Home Affairs. He had a plot next to me and said Mr Lusambo, buy this plot because you are building a big house. So which proceeds of crime are they talking about?” he said.
“Do you know how much I spent on that house? I spent $150,000. The entire building. So I do not know what ACC will say. Do you think I am worried? I am not worried because they have failed to accuse me of things. The only person who can have that money they are accusing me of is the one who was in privatisation. Their fight against corruption is just to excite people. So that is what they want to do. Where have they seen me with K22.8 million? They just want to excite people. They should prove it like they did with the 49 houses. I hope and trust that the new ACC DG and the chairperson will conduct an overhaul because they will continue to be embarrassed.”
Lusambo insisted that he was not scared.
“Zambia is not a kangaroo or banana country. We have laws to follow. If they are saying that property was bought with money suspected to be proceeds of crime, which proceeds of crime? From where? I worked in Ndola so let them tell me where I dipped my fingers in government money. I worked as Lusaka Province Minister so let them tell me. Proceeds of crime is not enough, let them tell me where I stole money. I am not scared. I will be coming back to Zambia any day. I am out for work. I am in high spirits. The ACC should point at any transaction,” said Lusambo.
“I have never dealt with government, not even a contract with government, never! Tell Zambians that freedom is coming very soon. They should not worry. The ACC is only working to excite people. If they excite people then what next? So do not worry because I am okay. The only thing is that we are destroying our country. You cannot stop Bowman from talking. Last week the ACC was in problems because they were asked to arrest Bowman.”
Meanwhile, addressing the media after seizing the property, Thursday, ACC spokesperson Queen Chibwe said all tenants occupying the said property would be asked to vacate.
“The tenants will be asked to leave because we have seized the property and now it belongs to the state at a particular stage. Of course in the process of seizure not yet forfeited, but the tenants cannot be allowed to stay in there. There will be another notice using the law that will be served on them so that they can vacate the premises,” she said.
Chibwe said the seizure of the property in question would not affect other pending court cases involving Lusambo.
“This seizure does not affect other proceedings before court. There is another case that is ongoing where he was already arrested by the commission. So this is another investigation where we are going to find him wanting. We have all the evidence that we need and due processes of the law are going to follow. Actually, Mr Lusambo was summoned to the Commission last week so that he appears for other allegations and he has not been cooperating,” said Chibwe.
“So we would like to call upon his lawyers as well as himself because they had promised that is going to appear before the Commission this week. This is Thursday, the week has come to an end and he has not appeared. So we would like him to cooperate with this investigative wing. His lawyers actually confirmed that he is around and they will bring him to the Commission this week and they have not done so. So he must be around.”