Courts hears how Brut Holdings registered company dubiously

By Staff Reporter
TWO civil engineers today told the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court that they did not consent Brut Holdings Limited, a company jointly charged with Housing and Infrastructure Development minister Ronald Chitotela and two others for concealing and possession of unexplained properties to use their curriculum vitae and certificates in the registration of the company.
And Engineering Institute of Zambia (EIZ) chief executive officer Newton Zulu testified that Brut Holdings Limited was not registered with the institution.
Chitotela is in the first and second count jointly charged with Gregory Chibanga and Brut Holdings Limited for concealing Lot  22183 /M situated in Ibex Hill and 148 of farm 50A situated in Makeni, properties suspected to be proceeds of crime.
The trio are also charged with Diris Mukange who is facing two counts of possession of the two properties which are reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime.
The accused all pleaded not guilty.
And during the continued hearing of the case before principal resident magistrate David Simusamba yesterday, two witnesses; Abel Ng’andu, 47, a director at Ng’andu Consulting and Kapemba Siwale, 60, a freelance civil engineer, said they were surprised when they were summoned at the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) to find that Brut Holdings used their curriculum vitae and certificates to register the company without their consent.
Ng’andu said on dates he could not recall but in April this year, he was called at ACC for interviews where he was asked whether he knew Brut Holdings and whether he was shareholder and director.
He said the officers then showed him documents which revealed that he was a shareholder and director in Brut Holdings and there were minutes showing the same.
Ng’andu said he was also shown a curriculum vitae which had exactly his qualifications.
“I don’t know Brut Holdings Limited, I don’t know the people behind it, I am not a shareholder or director. I only knew about the company after I was shown documents by ACC,” he said.
And when cross examined by one of the defence lawyers James Mataliro said he did not know that such documents are sometimes prepared by agents.
He maintained that he was not a shareholder or director and that Brut Holdings did not get consent to use his CV and qualifications.
And Siwale also told the court that sometime last month, he was called to appear before ACC officers where he was shown documents pertaining to the registration of Brut Holdings.
He said he was availed a CV and also certificates of his qualifications and minutes of a meeting which purported that he was present.
“I was surprised because I never gave consent to Brut Holdings Limited to use my documents for the registration of the company. No one approached me to get these documents appearing in the dossier.
There is also minutes of a board meeting which purported that I attended, I never attended that meeting. Whatever is appearing in this dossier there was no consent from me,” Siwale said.
He said in cross examination that he wouldn’t know  specifically when the document was authored.
Siwale said he did not know that agents are sometimes engaged to prepare such documents because he has never registered a company before.
Engineering Institute of Zambia  chief executive officer Newton Zulu also testified in the matter, explaining how the EIZ was approached by ACC officers to establish the registration of Brut Holdings Limited.
“I advised them that I couldn’t give them the response without checking the gazettes,” Zulu said.
He said he wrote a letter responding to their request which indicated that the company was not registered.
Zulu identified the letter which he wrote ACC dated May 27, 2019.
He stated that Brut Holdings Limited was not registered as a consultancy or a unit.
When cross examined by Zimba, Zulu said the ACC officers picked his response letter from his office.
When told by Zimba that he was participating in manufacturing of evidence, he responded in the negative.
He said he did not even know when trial in the case commenced.
Zulu said said he was not given the list of engineers registered with the company, adding that it was not every registered engineer who can be a consultant.
Meanwhile, Samuel Sikoswe, 24, a security officer of Kafue who testified through a Tonga interpreter narrated how ACC called him to ask about the house in Ibex Hill.
He said the Ibex Hill belonged to former labour minister  Austin Liato who he was working for.
Sikoswe said officers asked him who became his boss after Liato to which he said it was Chitotela.
He said Liato was the one that told him that he would continue working at the same house but for Chitotela.
He said Chitotela became his new boss and was the one bringing him items to use and he that he also brought furniture.
Sikoswe said Chitotela gave him instructions to look after the goods and later rented out the house Catholic sisters.
He said the said house was opposite American Embassy in Ibex.
However, during cross examination, Sikoswe said he did not have a letter of appointment for the job from Chitotela.
He said even his previous employer Liato never gave him any papers to show that he was working for him.
Sikoswe said it was him who was allowing the people to view the house.
When told by counsel Zimba that he was threatened with arrest if he did not testify, he denied.
Sikoswe also denied that officers stopped him from making calls or contacting anyone.
Sikoswe said he was picked by Chris to come and testify.
He also told the court that he denied knowing Chitotela because he was afraid.
However, he identified Chitotela in court because he was not afraid, adding that he was scared of the ACC officers because the office where they took him was very big.
Sikoswe said it was his first time to appear in court but he was not scared.
Hearing continues.




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