Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Plunder probe team summons Kachingwe

Plunder probe team summons Kachingwe
By Mwala Kalaluka
Wed 22 Feb. 2012, 12:01 CAT

THE combined team of government investigators probing the plunder of national resources has continued impounding more trucks procured by the MMD for use during the last year's general election campaigns.

MMD national secretary Maj Richard Kachingwe has been summoned to appear before the joint team of investigators comprising officers from Zambia Police, Drug Enforcement Commission and Anti-Corruption Commission in connection with the seized MMD campaign vehicles.

And Maj Kachingwe says the "willy-nilly manner" in which the MMD campaign motor vehicles were being impounded by the law enforcement agencies makes it difficult to track how many vehicles had been seized.

Probe team spokesperson Charity Munganga-Chanda confirmed to journalists at the former Task Force on Corruption offices in Lusaka's Woodlands area yesterday that former finance minister Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane and MMD chairman for elections Gabriel Namulambe were scheduled to appear before the joint investigative team.

Munganga-Chanda said it was yet to be known what Maj Kachingwe had been summoned for.

However, sources within the investigative team told The Post that Maj Kachingwe had been summoned in connection with the seized MMD campaign trucks.

"He is representing the MMD over the trucks that we impounded," the source said. "We keep on impounding more and more trucks."

The sources said the joint investigating team intends to place a restriction order on the seized MMD campaign trucks, hence Maj Kachingwe's summoning.

But Munganga-Chanda said later that Maj Kachingwe had indicated that he could not appear before the probe team as expected since his lawyer was in court.

Munganga-Chanda said the probe team then opted to follow Maj Kachingwe to the MMD Secretariat in Lusaka's Rhodespark area and meet him from there.

In an interview at the MMD Secretariat later in the afternoon, Maj Kachingwe said the joint investigative team had not yet been to his office and that there was a fresh arrangement for him to appear today.

"I got a notice, call out yesterday Monday. Now you know the normal procedure is that we hand over to our lawyers. So the lawyers made an appointment for 10:00 hours tomorrow today," Maj Kachingwe said.

Maj Kachingwe said when he inquired over the summon yesterday morning, the joint probe team officers told him that they would go to his office in Rhodespark to deal with the issue.

Maj Kachingwe said after a protracted wait, the probe team officials called to say he would appear before them today.

"But the issue of vehicles, even yesterday I was in court. So I think there are laws in this country. The law will guide," Maj Kachingwe said. "We don't even know. You know the normal procedure is that after the election, the vehicles were being controlled by the campaign team.

After the elections, the campaign team is supposed to have handed over to the Secretariat that is when we were going to take possession of the vehicles."

Maj Kachingwe said before that could happen, the motor vehicles were seized anywhere and everywhere.

"So I do verify believe that even thieves have taken advantage of that situation. It's a very confused situation. I told them, I have been very open to them that anybody could have taken advantage of this situation," said Maj Kachingwe.

"I don't know what vehicles they have and we have asked them to tell us what they have. What they investigative wings have in their possession."

Probe team sources also confirmed that Namulambe, who was expected to appear before the investigative wings yesterday, had asked to appear today at 09:00 hours because his lawyer was in court yesterday.

Dr Musokotwane was expected to appear before the investigative team for the second time at 14:00 hours yesterday.

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