AN Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) investigator has admitted that there is no evidence directly linking Housing and Infrastructure Development Minister Ronald Chitotela to the US$300,000 which was allegedly used to buy two properties he is accused of concealing.
And the court has set July 8, 2019 as the date for ruling on whether or not Chitotela and his co-accused have a case to answer after the State closed its case yesterday.
The witness, Christopher Siwakwi, said this yesterday before Lusaka Principal Resident Magistrate David Simusamba in a case Chitotela has been charged with three others for allegedly concealing property reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime. Chitotela, 47, who is also Pambashe member of Parliament, is charged with Gregory Chibanga and Brut Holdings Limited (where Chibanga is managing director) for alleged concealment of the property in the names of Diris Mukange; who is facing two counts of being in possessiona of property reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime.
In cross examination by defence lawyer Mulambo Haimbe, Mr. Siwakwi also said he did not establish the relationship between Chitotela and Mukange and that he did not verify if it is true that Mukange is related to Chibanga.
In earlier cross examination by another defence lawyer Jonas Zimba, Mr Siwakwi said he did not bring to court an estate agent identified as Jonathan Simwinga, who linked Chitotela’s wife Lilian Lufupa Chitotela to Mary Kateya Lubinga, the seller of subdivision number 148 of farm 50A in Lusaka’s Makeni area.
Mr. Siwakwi said during his investigations he never interacted with China Harbour Engineering Limited, despite the company being at the centre of the US$300, 000 it sent to Andrew and Partners, a law firm which later allegedly paid US$154,000 for Ms. Lubinga’s property.
The witness, who earlier said in his evidence-in-chief that he instituted investigations into the matter after receiving allegations that Chitotela was in possession of unexplained property acquired from bribes he was getting from local and foreign contractors, told the court that the minister is neither charged for bribery nor corruption.
The case comes up on July 8, 2019 for ruling. – DN