Hon Folks, APM appears to be at pains to prove he did not personally benefit from the K145 million a supplier of food ration packs to the police deposited in a DPP account for which the President is a sole signatory.
The Nation of Monday, August 13, quoted ACB Director General Reyneck Matemba as having said bank records and other documents he got from APM himself show that DPP, not APM, was the ultimate beneficiary of the K145 million.
It’s not clear whether Matemba asked for the documents and for what purpose. All we know for sure is that ACB cannot prosecute a sitting President. Why the President gave away the documents and Matemba felt emboldened to go public with it all can before damage control.
The K145 million which APM argues is a gift has a double whammy effect. If it’s not a gift then it’s hot money, a kickback. Then there are governance issues surrounding the DPP account where the money was stashed. Why is APM the sole signatory to that account?
The leaked ACB memo indicates the supplier and the police—the agent of the State that procured the food ration—knew who had clinched the deal six months before the bidding. How? Unless the matter is taken to court, we shall not know the answer.
When the supplier eventually got the business—apparently on the strength of his bid being the most competitive at K2.3 billion—he hiked the price six days later by a whopping K466 million, citing depreciation of the kwacha which the supplier pegged at 20 percent. ACB quotes Reserve Bank as having said the kwacha depreciated by only 1.6 percent during the week in question.
Why then did government go-ahead to pay K2.793 billion, instead of the initial contract price of K2.327 billion? A day after depositing the government cheque in his bank account, the supplier then transferred from it the K145 million to the DPP account for which the President is the sole signatory. Why?
The account in question wasn’t even known to DPP secretary-general Greselder Jeffrey (Weekend Nation of June 30, 2018 p.4), how did the supplier get the account number and its other details? There can only be more questions than answers for now.
K145 million is no small change by our standards. It’s more than what a President can earn in 40 months! A gift of that magnitude from a supplier after getting paid K2.8 billion for a business deal with government rekindles memories of Cashgate.
But another stinker for APM is the DPP account in which the K145 million was stashed. Why was the account in DPP’s name and yet he alone was its signatory? If the proceeds from this account are strictly for DPP, how come not even the party’s secretary general was aware of the so-called gift two years after it was donated?
Article 10 of the DPP constitution specifically provides for the positions of treasurer general, first deputy treasurer general and second deputy treasurer general in the party’s national governing council. How come none of these treasury office bearers was a co-signatory to the account opened in the name of the party?
We are a nation beaten cold by concerns of rampant corruption which, unfortunately, APM denies. That’s why the public reacted angrily when the shenanigans of the food ration scam were exposed.
The question still remains: can APM bank on Matemba to clear him on food ration scam? Article 16 (4) of the DPP constitution says, “the party shall open bank accounts with commercial banks and shall have its accounts audited annually by a reputable firm of auditors.”
The audit for 2016 should have been done in 2017. Did it happen? Has it ever happened in the letter and spirit of the party’s constitution? The report from a “reputable firm of auditors”, not from ACB director general who is a lawyer by profession—is what APM needs to clear his name.