Chitotela corruption trial starts

By Staff Reporter

A WITNESS has testified that she negotiated with Infrastructure and Housing Development minister Ronald Chitotela who expressed interest in purchasing her house in Makeni but when they finalised, the contract of sale had Diris Mukange’s name as purchaser.

And Mary Lubinga, 54, an assistant director human resources administration and a resident of Chilenje south, told principal resident magistrate David Simusamba that Chitotela purchased the house at the cost of K1.6 million.

Lubinga was testifying in a case in which Chitotela is jointly charged with Gregory Chibanga, Brut Holdings Limited and Diris Mukange on four counts of concealing and being in possession of properties suspected to be proceeds of crime.

 

The first count alleges that Chitotela, Chibanga and Brut Holdings Limited, between July 3, 2016 and October 30, last year in Lusaka, concealed lot number 148 of farm 50A situated in Makeni and concealed it in the names of Diris Mukange, property reasonably suspected of being proceeds of crime.

 

In the second count, the trio between the same dates at Lusaka concealed part of subdivision A lot 22183/M situated in Ibex Hill and concealed it in the name of Diris Mukange, property also reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime.

 

In the third count, Diris Mukange during the same period jointly and whilst acting together with other unknown people possessed lot number 148 of farm 50A situated in Makeni in Lusaka, property reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime.

 

The last and fourth count alleges that Mukange between the same dates possessed part of subdivision A of lot 22183/M situated in Ibex Hill.

But they all pleaded not guilty.

Lubinga, the prosecution’s first witness, narrated that at the beginning of 2015, she advertised her property in Makeni with a number of estate agents.

She explained that around August 2016, she was approached by one of the agents that there was a client that was interested in viewing the house and the agent went to her place with a client he introduced as Mrs Chitotela.

Lubinga said Mrs Chitotela expressed interest in purchasing the house after viewing it but asked her to reconsider the price as she had put it at K2.5 million.

She said Mrs Chitotela then indicated to her that she wished to discuss the matter with her husband, Chitotela, so that he could also view the house before making a final decision.

And that after that, Mrs Chitotela called her and told her she was going to view the house with her husband.

The court heard that after some days, Chitotela called Lubinga and asked her to go to his office at government complex where he negotiated and it was agreed that he could purchase the house at K1.6 million and the matter was forwarded to lawyers for payments.

 

She said she later went to her lawyers to sign the contract of sale and that was when she discovered that the purchaser’s name was Diris Mukange and not Chitotela whom she had negotiated with.

Lubinga testified that she asked her lawyer if signing the contract with Mukange would not pose any problems in the future because she had never dealt with her but her lawyer told her that it would not as long as the person had the capacity to pay.

 

She said after that, the contract of sale was signed with her as vendor while Mukange signed as purchaser.

 

Hearing in the matter continues today, Thursday.