Thursday, October 04, 2007

I won't stop questioning govt dealings with alleged plunderers, says M

I won't stop questioning govt dealings with alleged plunderers, says M
By Brighton Phiri
Thursday October 04, 2007 [04:00]

HERITAGE Party president Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda yesterday declared that he would not stop questioning the government's dealings with persons suspected to have plundered the country's resources.

Reacting to government spokesperson Mike Mulongoti's challenge that he should explain whether government facilitated his travel to Congo when he fled under Dr Kenneth Kaunda's regime, Brig. Gen. Miyanda said it was wrong for Mulongoti to trivialise the fleeing of former intelligence chief, Xavier Chung, by diverting the public's attention to his case which was disposed off by the High Court of Zambia.

"My queries are not meant to condone any wrong-doing by anybody. My queries are genuine concerns about the double standards that exist in the governance of the country and selective application of justice. If Chungu is to be extradited then Katanga governor Moses Katumbi should be extradited because their alleged offences arise from the same facts of the 2001 presidential and general elections," Brig Gen Miyanda said.

"Instead of challenging me, Mr Mulongoti should truthfully answer these perfectly good questions. If he answers truthfully and factually, I will stop querying government's dealings with those they are accusing of plundering the resources of the country."

Brig Gen Miyanda said he could not say much on Mulongoti's challenge because there was a case pending in the High Court of Zambia, in which similar insinuations were made by former Republican vice-president Enoch Kavindele.

He asked Mulongoti to direct his challenge to his lawyers Chifumu Banda Associates because it was improper for him to be handling the case for which he had retained lawyers.

"If Mr Mulongoti has fresh evidence to re-open the case, he is free to challenge the High Court of Zambia which determined the case," Brig Gen Miyanda said.

"But I know the game that Mr Mulongoti is playing. He wants to divert attention from specific issues regarding government collusion in turning a blind eye to allow persons who were under their control and surveillance escape."

He wondered why there was no serious challenge from the government when Chungu confessed that he had participated in the scheme to use government funds to elect President Mwanawasa and MMD members of parliament.

"Mr Chungu told the Supreme Court that he was the sole signatory and stated clearly that he used funds from government through the Intelligence bank account at Zambia National Commercial Bank.

He even delivered the actual cash to State House where he said Mr. Mwanawasa received it, but there was no serious challenge to this evidence," he said.

"When I raised the issue of Mr Vernon Mwaanga's visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo to meet Katanga Governor Moses Katumbi and suggested that the real reason for the visit was for Mr. Mwaanga to negotiate for a secret settlement, I was not taken seriously by the government.

But now government and Governor Katumbi have withdrawn the matter which was in the High Court and it appears there is a settlement."
He said it was public knowledge that Katumbi was given a contract to supply maize using government funds to facilitate the election victory for President Mwanawasa and MMD members of parliament.

"I remember correctly that Task Force chairman Max Nkole once vowed that they will bring Governor Katumbi to stand trial at all cost. And Governor Katumbi equally replied that he will make available a plane to facilitate the Task Force movements. Why has Governor Katumbi not been extradited since he too is alleged to have plundered our public resources?" Brig Gen Miyanda asked.

"Why settle with one suspected plunderer and pursue the other when both are facing the same criminal charges?"

Mulongoti, who is also information and broadcasting minister, said he had no information indicating that the government facilitated Chungu's flight.

But opposition Patriotic Front (PF) president Michael Sata claimed that Chungu fled the country with full government knowledge.

Sata claimed that the government facilitated Chungu's exit from Zambia so that he could assist them fish out evidence against former president Frederick Chiluba from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and European countries.

Brig. Gen. Miyanda on Sunday asked the government to tell the nation how Chungu fled before seeking his extradition from Mozambique.

The Zambian government has through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs written to the government of Mozambique requesting for Chungu's extradition. Chungu is seeking asylum in that country.

Government sources disclosed that official correspondence has already been sent to Mozambique's justice minister for consideration.

Chungu was last week spotted in Mozambique where he has applied for asylum through the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.

But the Zambian government source said they have requested the government of Mozambique to extradite Chungu because he fled from justice and not political persecution as he was claiming.

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