THE State has dropped two charges against former Zambia Air Force (ZAF) Commander Lt General Eric Chimese, #Kalemba reports.
Until yesterday, Lt General Chimese was facing two counts of abuse of authority of office and two counts of money laundering.
But when the matter came up yesterday before Lusaka Magistrate Nsunge Chanda, Chief State Advocate Gamariel Zimba, informed the court that the State had decided to discontinue two charges by way of a nolle prosequi.
In one money laundering count, Lt General Chimese is jointly charged with his wife Sharon and Chita lodge director James Chungu
A ZAF Squadron pilot at the Force’s headquarters in Lusaka testified against his former boss yesterday.
Major Caphus Mudala told the court that he supervised construction works for a two storey building and a gym in Ibex Hill area believed to belong to Lt General Chimese.
Testifying before Magistrate Nsunge Chanda, Major Caphus Mudala narrated that in February this year, DEC anti-money laundering investigations unit approached him to inquire on the role that he played involving a property in Ibex Hill.
He said he was asked to give a statement on how he was involved in that property on first street opposite ZAF Twinpalm.
The squadron pilot said in 2013, he was assigned to supervise works at the property in question property by the former ZAF commander.
“I supervised the casual workers that were engaged in the construction works and also ensured that there was adequate material,” he said
“I would ensure that I outsource manpower that was required for the construction of a double storey house, a gym and a servants quarter”.
Major Mudala explained that his role was to ensure that the works were ongoing and he would give feedback to the retired liutenant general.
He said by December 2014, the double storey was complete but some interior designs were still on, such as tiling, painting and fitting of bathtubs.
The squadron pilot said the communication that he had with general Chimese was for the payment of workers and purchase of material.
“I would pay the workers when I get the money from general Chimese. I would also get funds for the materials from the general,” Major Mudala said.
Major Mudala told the court that the said property belonged to Chimese because he was the one issuing instructions regarding to the works on the property.
He further testified that he supervised the workers for two years but in December 2014, he went for a flying course in South Africa and handed over the works to major Maseka.
During cross examination by Lt General Chimese’s lawyer Kelvin Fube asked if there were general workers, plumbers and electricians from ZAF, the squadron pilot responded in the negative.
When asked if the property was confused with that of Chita lodge Major Mudala said he wouldn’t know if the property in question belonged to Chita lodge as he did not receive instructions from Chita lodge but from Lt General Chimese.
When asked if Chimese had entered into a lease with Chita lodge the witness denied.
According to the documents read by Major Mudala the contract was entered between two Zimbawean Nationals, Tendai Joe , Zechameta Makini and Chita Lodge .
“The contract was for the construction of a main house, a gym, bar and wallfence in ibex hill Central street plot number remainder of subdivision Q farm number 2303 and the other one in the same area for the construction of nine apartments in fourth street of remainder of subdivision Q number 2303 and Chita lodge would provide all material supplies and equipment unless otherwise agreed and all materials would be of good quality,” read the contractual documents.
When asked if he had a receipt as proof of the material he purchased the witness said he did not have any.
“My assignment was to pass through the construction site and ensure that works were ongoing,” Major Mudala said.
allegeations in count one are that between June 2013 and June 2018 , Chimese being a public officer at the time, namely ZAF commander engaged employees of ZAF, to do works on his private property situated on plot number 2303/Q in Ibex Hill, an arbitrary act which was prejudicial to the interests of the government of Zambia.
In count two, it is alleged that Chimese on the same dates in Chilanga district, engaged ZAF employees to do works on his private property situated on Farm number 4301/31 in Eureka Area.
It is also alleged in count, three that Chimese and Chungu between January 2012 and February 2019 ,whilst acting together, concealed and disguised the rights with respect to ownership of nine flats, a single storey building, one Guest Wing and one semi detached cottage situated on Farm number 2303/Q in Ibex Hill, knowing or having reason to believe that the said property were proceeds of crime.
It is further alleged that Chimese on the same dates , possessed nine flats, one single storey building, one guest wing and one semi detached cottage situated on the said farm, knowing that the said properties were proceeds of crime.
And in the last count, it is alleged that Chimese and his wife Sharon between January 2012 and February 2019, in Chilanga district, whilst acting together, possessed two houses situated on Farm number 4301 in Eureka Area, knowing or having reason that the said properties were proceeds of crime.
Trial continues on June 26.