Thursday, April 23, 2009

Probe team completes first phase Zambia Airways investigation

Probe team completes first phase Zambia Airways investigation
Written by Masuzyo Chakwe
Thursday, April 23, 2009 8:58:27 PM

THE joint investigation team of government has concluded the first phase of investigations into the operations of Zambian Airways and have since forwarded the docket to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for further consideration.

Inspector General of Police Francis Kabonde said at a press briefing yesterday that the joint investigations team comprising Zambia Police Service, Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) and the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) had now concluded the first phase of the investigations.

He said the DPP would now determine whether what the three bodies had collected warranted further action.

Kabonde said the office of the DPP may advice the three investigative wings on what to do or may need to be done.

He explained that the first phase had to do with passenger fees that were supposed to have been remitted to the National Airport Corporation (NAC).

However, Kabonde said he could not mention the findings of their investigations until the DPP looks at the matter.

He said investigations could not be hurried as Zambian Airways had been operating for a long time and investigations only started recently.

"So we need to dig out the truth, it can't be done by the brick of the eye. Zambians must be patient. This is not a political thing. It is about the alleged crime, nothing to do with politics so we are not targeting certain individuals. This is why we decided to combine so that investigations so that investigations are done in all areas," he said.

Kabonde said warn and caution statements had been taken from all the four directors of Zambian Airways Fred M'membe, Mutembo Nchito, Nchima Nchito and Passmore Hamukoma including some other people from South Africa which were part of the investigations.

He said investigations into other areas of operations by Zambian Airways were still continuing.

The joint investigations team has been probing the alleged failure to remit passenger service charges to government as agents of NAC.

And Kabonde said investigations in the alleged overpayments docket of the case had also been forwarded to the office of the DPP for perusal.

He said this comes in the wake of complaints received from the Patriotic Front regarding the letter written to the then permanent secretary in the ministry of home affairs Susan Sikaneta by MMD Lusaka provincial chairman Jeff Kande.

In the letter addressed to Sikaneta, figures were reported to have been inflated as opposed to the original amounts quoted by the food suppliers.

And Kabonde also said they had received a complaint from members of the public on Father Frank Bwalya and their duty was to open investigations to determine whether an offence was committed or not

He said they would seek guidance from the DPP and a docket had been opened and the matter was receiving attention.

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