FORMER tourism minister Ronald Chitotela’s lawyer, Kampamba Kombe, has denied the Anti-Corruption Commission’s allegations that his client acquired property using proceeds of crime, describing the commission’s actions as pure malice.
On Friday, ACC seized Chitotela’s property in Chongwe’s State Lodge area.
ACC spokesperson Queen Chibwe said the seized property was acquired by Chitotela using suspected proceeds of crime and was in fact registered in the name of Liu Runmin, a Lusaka businessman.
But in an interview, Kombe said Chitotela actually bought the property from the said Chinese national.
“He actually bought that property from that person. I don’t know why people are thinking that he bought and registered in that person’s name, no. He actually bought that property from that Chinese man. It is not a crime to own property for as long as you can justify. So, all the documents are there which will be shown in due course. The truth will come out, if a person embarks on a project like that, at least you should be able to show. But if those guys (ACC) had bothered to find out how that property was built or acquired, we would avoid such drama. It is just out of pure malice,” Kombe said.
He said the animals (Zebras and Impalas) found at Chitotela’s property were documented and didn’t belong to the State.
“Legally so. They (animals) are all documented. He got them from private game ranches. They don’t belong to the State,” said Kombe.
In a statement, Friday, Chibwe said the seized property was believed to be tainted in relation to a serious offence which was currently a subject of investigation by the Commission.
“The Anti-Corruption Commission has seized property belonging to former Minister for Housing and Infrastructure Ronald Kaoma Chitotela, property reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime. The property seized is stand No. CHONG /LN_21188/51 situated in State Lodge, Chongwe which was acquired by Mr. Chitotela using suspected proceeds of crime and that the said property is in fact registered in the name of Liu Runmin, a Lusaka Businessman. The seizure is in accordance with Section 58 (1) of the Anti-Corruption Act No. 3 of 2012. The seized property is believed to be tainted in relation to a serious offence which is currently a subject of investigation by the Commission,” stated Chibwe.
“The Commission wishes to assure the public that it will not relent in its quest to seize any property that is reasonably suspected to be ill-gotten wealth. The Commission wishes to encourage members of the public to make reports of suspected proceeds of crime and acts of corruption. To this effect, the Commission is in the process of increasing the methods of reporting to enable people make such reports. Currently, the public is being encouraged to utilise the Commission’s Toll-Free Line, 5980, WhatsApp Line 0973039550 or through email on firstname.lastname@example.org to make reports of suspected acts of corruption.”