BANK DEALS FOR CHITOTELA’S LAWYERS WERE RIGHT – WITNESS

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By CHARLES MUSONDA

THERE was nothing wrong with bank transactions for Housing and Infrastructure Development Minister Ronald Chitotela’s lawyers Andrews and Partners, a witness has told the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court.

First National Bank (FNB) administration manager Mwangala Sikombe, 38, yesterday said among the transactions was a payment of US$154, 000 from the law firm’s account held at FNB to Stanbic Bank for purchase of property.

Ms. Sikombe was testifying in a case in which Chitotela is charged with Gregory Chibanga, Brut Holdings Limited (where Chibanga is director), and Diris Mukange for two counts of concealing property suspected to be proceeds of crime.

She said on July 27, 2016, China Harbour Engineering paid Andrews and Partners US$299, 985 through Bank of China but the purpose of the payment was not indicated. She said on the same day the law firm withdrew US$5, 000 over the counter.

Ms. Sikombe told Lusaka Principal Resident Magistrate David Simusamba that on July 28, 2016 Andrews and Partners made an online payment of US$140, 000 to a Lungu Sim and the following day transferred US$154, 000 to Stanbic Bank.

Asked by defence lawyer Mulambo Haimbe in cross examination if there was anything wrong with the transactions, she said there was nothing wrong.

Earlier, Bank of China public relations manager Sandra Namukobo testified that the bank’s client China Harbour Engineering paid Andrews and Partners US$300, 000 in July 2016.

Ms. Namukobo said a few months ago, Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) officers approached the bank with a court warrant in Bank of China’s name and asked for some documents. She said the officers asked for a mandate file and a bank statement with reference to China Harbour.

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