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 2010-01-22 03:47 am Back to NEWS
ACC, DEC and OP probe Kabonde
ACC, DEC and OP probe Kabonde

A COMBINED team of Anti Corruption Commission (ACC), Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC), Zambia Police and Intelligence officers has recorded a warn and caution statement from Inspector General of Police Francis Kabonde in connection with unaccounted for K1 billion overpaid to a South African traffic equipment and car dealer.

And former inspector general of police Ephraim Mateyo broke down during interrogation at the ACC offices in Lusaka when he appeared before a combined team of investigators probing the irregular purchase of escort vehicles and traffic equipment, which have not been delivered, from South Africa's Instrumentation for Traffic Law Enforcement.

Meanwhile, Instrumentation for Traffic Law Enforcement (Pty) owner Phineas Manthata yesterday said the Zambia Police Service owed him over 84 million rands and allegations that his firm was overpaid were “nonsense”.

Well-placed sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs confirmed over the weekend that a combined team of officers from the DEC, ACC, Zambia Security Intelligence Service (ZSIS) and Zambia Police set up to investigate the irregularities in the purchase of police escort vehicles, motorbikes, bullet proof presidential cars and traffic equipment wrote to President Rupiah Banda asking for permission to interrogate and take a warn and caution statement from Kabonde.

The sources said President Banda granted the permission to the investigators to go ahead and investigate Kabonde.
The sources said Kabonde was summoned and appeared before the investigators at ACC head office in Lusaka on Wednesday, January 13, 2010 at 10:00 hours and the interrogation took over one hour.

“The officers interrogated Mr Kabonde concerning his role in the payment for the vehicles, motorbikes, presidential armoured BMW X5 vehicles. According to the records, Mr Kabonde as commissioner of police in 2006 signed for the payment of money to Instrumentation for Traffic Law Enforcement (Pty) Limited of South Africa. They recorded a warn and caution statement from Mr Kabonde,” the source revealed. “During the interrogation, the officers asked Mr Kabonde why he signed the payment without a tender and he told them that he was working under instructions from Mr Mateyo.

The officers asked him if the instructions given to him were lawful or not. Mr Kabonde responded that the instructions were lawful because Mr Mateyo was his boss. Mr Kabonde said, 'I was just instructed to process the payment.' The officers asked him why he as deputy to Mr Mateyo could not advise his boss and whether he could take any instructions even if they were unlawful. He said he didn't see anything wrong because instructions came from above his office. They also asked him whether he knew where the money he was signing for was going and he said he knew that they the police were paying for equipment that was supposed to be purchased but said he was ignorant about the equipment they were purchasing. Among the payments he signed for was K1 billion and other amounts.”

The sources said the fact that Kabonde was being investigated he was supposed to take leave or be put on forced leave to pave way for investigations to avoid the possibility of him interfering with the process. However, that has not happened.
When contacted, Kabonde could neither deny nor confirm that he was interrogated and a warn and caution statement was recorded from him.

“I cannot confirm on that. You talk to the same people you are talking to; they should be in position to tell you,” Kabonde said.
When reminded about the day, date, time and the duration of his interrogation, Kabonde sounded surprised and said: “You can confirm with Mr Kayukwa.”

ACC director general Godfrey Kayukwa and spokesperson Timothy Moono were not picking up their phones by press time. And sources said Mateyo appeared before the investigators at ACC offices on Thursday January 14, 2010, but he broke down during interrogations.

“Mr Mateyo started crying. He cried. He told the officers that he was crying because his mother died last year and things have not been good since his mother died,” the source said. “Mr Mateyo told the officers that he was supposed to go in diplomatic service as ambassador to Germany but instead the government was trying to find faults in him.”

The sources said the investigators told Mateyo to engage a lawyer to represent him and contact them when he was ready.

“His crying attracted attention of people at ACC offices. Even the time he was leaving the interrogation room he was still crying. People could see his tears and were saying, 'Ni ba Mateyo aba. Babachita chani ba Mateyo This is Mr Mateyo. What have they done to Mr Mateyo? People heard and saw him shedding tears. It was dramatic. Some people felt sorry for him because they had never seen him in that situation, crying,” the source said.

The sources narrated that Mateyo and some police commanding officers in 2006 travelled to South Africa and while there they admired some traffic equipment at Instrumentation for Traffic Law Enforcement.

The sources said when Mateyo and his team returned, the police command prepared a payment of K1 billion without the approval of Zambia National Tender Board (ZNTB), which is now Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA), or government.

The sources said Kabonde signed for the payment which was given to Instrumentation for Traffic Law Enforcement.

“The reason for the payment was not known. Thereafter, Mr Mateyo went to South Africa and ordered 20 escort vehicles, 20 motorbikes, three armoured/bullet proof BMW X5 vehicles for the President. The police paid for everything. However, Instrumentation for Traffic Law Enforcement only delivered 10 escort vehicles, 10 motorbikes and one armoured BMW X5. I am sure you see the BMW X5 the President uses but two were not delivered, 10 escort vehicles were not delivered and 10 motorbikes were not delivered,” the source said.

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