‘Yes I received K1.5 million’, former ZAF commander tells court

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Former Zambia Air Force (ZAF) Commander Andrew Sakala today told the Lusaka Magistrate Court that he received K1.5 million (K1.5 billion old currency) and disbursed K500 million to the former Zambia Army Commander Wisdom Lopa and Zambia National Service (ZNS) Commandant Antony Yeta meant for convert operations during the 2011 general elections.

This is in a matter in which Lieutenant General Sakala 60, is jointly charged with Lieutenant General Yeta also aged 60 and Lieutenant General Lopa, 59 for corruption involving K1.5 m meant for security wings operations during the 2011 general elections.

He maintained during cross examination by state prosecutor before Principal Resident Magistrate Wilfred Muma that the K1.5m, which was deposited into the ZAF aircraft account on three occasions, was withdrawn by the ZAF Director of Finance and that he later distributed
K500 m each to his co-accused persons as it was agreed in a meeting they had earlier.

He said Gen. Lopa and Gen. Yeta did not sign anywhere to acknowledge receipt of the money due to the nature of the operations it was meant for.

Gen. Sakala added that there was no paper trail even when the money was transferred into the ZAF account.

He told the court that the ZAF Director of Finance did not write any letter to acknowledge receipt of the money adding that no vouchers were used apart from the cheques which were used in withdrawing it.

He further said he trusted his colleagues as commanders and he distributed the money as they had agreed upon in the meeting adding that if Gen. Lopa and Gen. Yeta did not receive the money, they could have queried him or reported him to police.

When asked by the prosecutor what he used the K500m he received that was meant for ZAF, Gen. Sakala responded that it was meant to gather intelligence information before, during and after the 2011 general elections.

He further said he did not retire the money he received or prepare a report of how the money was used because he was removed from the office before he received all the inputs from all the operations.

And Sakwiba Sikota, who is Gen. Yeta’s defense lawyer applied to bring an additional witness to give evidence on behalf of his client after looking at the evidence that was adduced in court so far.

And Magistrate Muma granted the application but cautioned the defense team that it should be consistent when bringing witnesses and should be decided on the witness the team would bring at a particular time to testify in the matter.

The matter has since been adjourned to March 3 and 5, 2014 for continued hearing.