Friday, April 18, 2008

Katumbi forfeits K1.3bn

Katumbi forfeits K1.3bn
By Zumani Katasefa in Kitwe
Friday April 18, 2008 [04:00]

DRC Katanga governor Moses Katumbi has forfeited about K1.3 billion to the Zambian government. Task Force on Corruption chairman Max Nkole told journalists in Kitwe yesterday that Katumbi had signed a deed of surrender regarding his property worth K5.5 billion that was seized by the state and his bank accounts had since been opened.

However, Nkole said the bank credits had been forfeited to the state in respect of the two accounts held at Zambia National Commercial Bank (ZNCB), while other accounts remain frozen until the Task Force settles the matter with Katumbi's lawyers.

Nkole said there was US $80,000 in the dollar account and K950 million in the kwacha account. The money and property were siezed from Katumbi in 2002 when the Task Force instituted investigations in his alleged plunder of national resources.

"I would like to commend the Copperbelt provincial officials who met officials from the Zambia National Commercial Bank Kitwe branch to finalise the agreement, which is in existence between governor Katumbi and the Republic of Zambia signed on 28 June last year aimed at pacifying the disputes that were in the courts of law," he said. "These were signed in the spirit of give and take. We welcome the gesture. With regard to the trunk of emeralds, the Zambia National Commercial Bank gave conditions which should be attended to by Katumbi and his lawyers."

Nkole explained that the Task Force had lifted the restrictions regarding the trunks of emeralds. "It is our desire that when these trunks of emeralds would be opened, we have to be present to confirm the contents." he said. However, Nkole could not state the value of the emeralds saying that could be done by experts.

Nkole also said Katumbi was at liberty to either assist the state in investigations of some corruption cases or not. He said the Task Force could approach Katumbi to help in their investigations but that it was up to him to accept or not. Nkole said Katumbi was not a suspect and that he would be approached like any other person to assist in the investigations of some corruption cases. And Katumbi thanked and commended the Zambian government for giving him back his property.

Katumbi said Zambians were his brothers and sisters and that the move taken would allow him to start doing business with the Zambian people again. Asked if he would assist the Task Force in its investigations once called upon, Katumbi declined to comment. Earlier, Katumbi had a private meeting at his lawyers' office at Kitwe's Anchris House with officials from the Task Force which lasted for about an hour.

After the meeting, Katumbi walked to ZNCB Business Centre on Obote Avenue as some callboys sang songs of praise for him. Katumbi who arrived yesterday morning in a private jet at Ndola Airport at about 08:00 hours was accompanied by some government officials from the DRC.

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