Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Court freezes Chiluba's bank accounts, assets

Court freezes Chiluba's bank accounts, assets
By Noel Sichalwe
Wednesday June 06, 2007 [04:00]

THE LONDON High Court has granted the Zambian government an injunction freezing former president Frederick Chiluba’s bank account and houses. But Chiluba said he would contest the freezing order and the registration of the London High Court judgment with the High Court of Zambia in the Zambian courts. According to the freezing order that accompanied the sealed and signed judgment of the London proceedings, the London High Court also froze several bank accounts and properties of other defendants.

“This prohibition includes, but is not limited to, the following assets in particular Dr Frederick Jacob Titus Chiluba. Any money standing to the credit of any bank account including the amount of any cheque drawn on such account which has not been cleared including bank account numbers 08002217 and 5401156 (Pension account) at Barclays Bank Zambia, Longacres Branch,” the London High Court stated.

“Property at 5, Kanono Road in Ndola, Zambia or the net sale money after payment of any mortgages if it has been sold and property at 20 Kabinga Road, Ndola, Zambia or the next sale after payment of any mortgages if it has been sold.”
The court has given Chiluba seven days in which to notify the court of any other assets he had.

Chiluba’s spokesperson Emmanuel Mwamba yesterday confirmed that the London judgment was served around 16:30 hours but that they would contest registration of both the judgment and the freezing order.

Mwamba said the officials from the Attorney General’s chambers left the documents with the guards at the gate of Chiluba’s Kabulonga home.
“We wished the service of the documents had taken a legal form,” he said.
Mwamba said the service of the judgment was poor and lacked seriousness because it was important to let Chiluba, his known representatives or lawyers sign for it.

“We note that there is an order dated May 25th, 2007 which seeks to restrict Dr Chiluba’s two houses in Ndola and his pension account at Barclays Bank of Zambia. Both the judgment and the order can only take effect if the judgment is successfully registered. Dr Chiluba will contest the registration and its orders because we have been informed by our lawyers that registration of the judgment is a protracted process and not automatic,” Mwamba said.

The London High Court has also frozen four foreign bank accounts for former Zambia’s ambassador to the United States Attan Shansonga, two local bank accounts, one property in London, two houses in Zambia, shares in Aviva PLC and shares in MISSL Associates Limited.
Other shares restricted are in De Garnier Holdings Limited or DGH Poly Products Limited or its proceeds and also shares or assets of Nebraska Services Limited or the proceeds.

The court however, stated that the freezing order did not restrict Shansonga from spending 1,000 British Pounds per week to meet his reasonable living expenses.
The court further allowed Shansonga to discharge his legal costs in the sum of 62,000 British Pounds but that he should inform the Zambian government lawyers before using the money from the restricted accounts.

The court has also frozen former permanent secretary Stella Chibanda’s two foreign bank accounts and one local bank account at Stanbic Bank.
The court also restricted Chibanda’s six properties in Lusaka and Chongwe including her farm in Palabana area.

On former Access Finance Services director Faustin Kabwe, the court restricted four local bank accounts, five local properties and shares in four companies.
Among the companies in which shares have been restricted are Serioes Farms Limited, Lusaka Trust and Corporate Services, Access Investment and Access Insurance Brokers.
For Congolese businessman Raphael Soriano, the court restricted two foreign properties including one in Belgium and five foreign bank accounts in Switzerland, Brussels and Kigali, Rwanda.

“It is a contempt of court for any person notified of this order knowingly to assist in or permit a breach of this order,” the court stated. “Any person doing so may be imprisoned, fined or have assets seized. This injunction does not prevent any bank from exercising any right of set off it may have in respect of any facility which it gave to the respondent before it was notified of this order.”

Attorney General Mumba Malila on Monday said the government would commence the process of registering the London High Court judgment immediately after serving it to the defendants.

Last month judge Smith established that Chiluba and others had defrauded Zambia of a total of US $41 million through the BK Facility and the Zamtrop account in London.
Judge Smith ordered Chiluba and others to pay about 85 per cent of the total sum (US $41 million) within 14 days upon service of the judgment.

This is a case in which the Attorney General of Zambia took out a civil suit against Chiluba and 19 others who were alleged to have siphoned about US $20 million from the state treasury.

Judge Smith said he was satisfied that Chiluba and former Zambia Security Intelligence Service director general Xavier Chungu were major conspirators and were also in breach of their fiduciary duties.

Those co-accused with Chiluba include Cave Malik and Company, Xavier Francis Chungu (XFC), Attan Shansonga, Stella Chibanda, Aaron Chungu, Bimal Thaker, Faustin Kabwe, Francis Kaunda, Boutique Basile, Nebraska Associates Limited, MISSL Associates Limited, Hearnville Estates, Jarban SA, Raphael Soriano Katoto, Belsquare Residence, NV Roland Cracco and Robert Standaert.

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