Witness tells court Ibex properties belongs to Lt Gen Chimese

By Staff Reporter
A ZAMBIA Air Force officer has testified that former  ZAF Commander Eric Chimese was the owner of one of the properties in Ibex Hill because he got instructions from him to supervise the works and funding to pay workers and buy building materials.
And the prosecution has dropped two charges; count three and four against Lieutenant General Chimese in respect to ZAF employer Katema Chuulu who he is alleged to have used to install tiles at his Ibex Hill and Eureka premises.
In this case, Lt Gen Chimese, his wife Sharon Gray Chimese and Chita Lodge chief executive officer James Chungu  are now facing five counts of abuse of authority and money laundering.
Lt Gen Chimese, a pilot, is in the first  and second counts alleged to have in 2013 at Lusaka being a public officer at the time,namely ZAF commander, in abuse of authority of office engaged employees of ZAF, a public body to install tiles on his private property situated at farm no. 4301/31 in Eureka area and at Plot no. 2303 /Q in Ibex Hill an arbitrary act which was prejudicial to the interest of the Republic of Zambia.
It is further alleged in count five that Chimese and Chungu , Chita lodge director between January 2012 and February 2019 at Lusaka jointly and whilst acting concealed and disguised the rights with respect to ownership of nine flats, one single storey building, one guest wing and one semi detached cottage situated on Farm no. 2303 /Q in Ibex Hill, knowing or having knowledge to believe that the said properties were a proceed of crime.
Chimese in count six is alleged to have between January 2012 and February 2019 at Lusaka possessed nine flats, one single storey building, one guest wing and one semi detached cottage situated on
Farm no. 2303 /Q in Ibex Hill, knowing or having knowledge  to believe that the said properties were a proceed of crime.
In the seventh count,  Chimese and his wife, Sharon between January 2012 and February 2019 at Chilanga jointly and whilst acting together possessed houses situated on Farm no. 4301/31 Eureka area knowing having knowledge  to believe that the said property was a proceed of crime.
Testifying in the case before magistrate Nsunge Chanda when trial commenced today, ZAF squad dros pilot Major Cephas Mudala, 36, narrated how Lt Gen Chimese engaged him to be supervising the building project at his plot in Ibex Hill.
He said he was visited by the Drug Enforcement Commission in February this year who asked him about the role he played at the property in Ibex and he gave a statement on how he was involved.
He said the property in question was in the first street near ZAF Twin Palm.
Mudala said in 2013, he was assigned to be supervising the works at the said property as a project manager by Lt Gen Chimese.
Mudala said he supervised casual workers to ensure the smooth running of the project and also ensured that there was adequate materials for the works.
He said he also coordinated the resources.
Mudala said he supervised the construction of the main building, the gymnasium alongside a servants quarter.
He said he was ensuring that works were ongoing and give feedback to Lt Gen Chimese.
Mudala said he conducted the duties until end of December 2014 when he was nominated to go and attend a flying training in South Africa.
He said the time he left for South Africa, the double storey building was complete although they were still some interior works going on such as tiling, painting, fitting in of bath tubs, toilets and doors.
Mudala added that as for the gymnasium, the doors were fitted and electrical for the lighting system was done.
He said the payment of workers and at times purchase of materials was done by him.
Mudala explained that he used to negotiate payments of new workers and pay them according to the agreement.
“I would pay the workers after getting money from the General and also purchase of materials, mostly  building sand, river sand, and cement” he said.
Mudala added that he would always give feedback to Lt Gen Chimese whenever materials run out and get funds from him.
Asked by Chief State Advocate Gamaliel Zimba who was leading his evidence-in-chief, who the owner of the property as far as he was concerned was, Mudala said it was for Lt Gen Chimese because he was the one who was giving instructions regarding the works that were ongoing and the funding was also from him.
He said he supervised the project for about two years.
Mudala positively identified Lt Gen Chimese from the dock.
And Mudala said he handed over the project to Gen Maseka as he was leaving for his training and was in South Africa until March 2015.
The witness said Gen Maseka was currently away on training.
And during cross examination led by Lt Gen Chimese’s lead lawyer Kelvin Bwalya, Mudala explained the roles that a batman and aide de cum play, saying that Lt Gen Chimese had both.
He said Lt Gen Chimese’s aide de cum was major Katilungu but he did not know who his batman is.
Mudala said he understands orders but explained that he had no written orders for the assignment he was engaged on.
When told that around December 2014, he was working for Gen Muma, he said he was under him.
Mudala refused that he was actually engaged to supervise Gen Muma’s project which was also near ZAF.
Mudala confirmed that he was in charge of flying the new gulf stream Presidential aircraft in May 2019.
Further told that it was quite peculiar that he had not mentioned a name of any ZAF construction worker at the site in Ibex Hill, he said during his time as a supervisor, there were no bricklayers, general workers, electricians or plumbers from ZAF at the construction site.
When put to him that in fact, the property he talked about in Ibex Hill belonged to Chita Lodges, he said he wouldn’t have known.
He agreed that based on his engagement at the project, he never had any instructions from Chita Lodges.
Pressed further to confirm if he had a written contract for the supervisory works he did at the project site, he responded in the negative.
And Mudala read two contracts from the defence dated June 6, 2012 which revealed that the contract for building of the properties, namely Ibex Hill Central Street plot number remainder of Subdivision of Q of Farm number 2303 and fourth Street plot number remainder of Subdivision of Q of Farm  were signed between Joe Tendai from Harare, Zimbabwe and Chita Lodges and also a Mr Makina also of Harare and Chita Lodges.
Asked if he ever met the said Tendai and Makina, Mudala said he met them and and they know him as captain.
Hearing continues on Wednesday.