‘Nevers wanted account that couldn’t be audited’ – FORMER accountant

Nevers Mumba
Nevers Mumba

A FORMER accountant at the Zambian Embassy in Canada has told the court that MMD president Nevers Mumba had confided in her whether it was possible for the mission to open a bank account that could not be audited.
This is in a matter in which Mumba is charged with abuse of authority and willful failure to comply with applicable procedure relating to management of public funds.
It is alleged that Mumba, as high commissioner at the Zambian Embassy in Canada, between June 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011, willfully failed to comply with laid-down procedures in receiving and disbursing CAD$122,229.85, a donation to the Zambian Government by a private company called Barrick Gold Corporation.
Mumba is further alleged to have between October 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010 abused his authority of office by awarding contracts valued at CAD$9,000 and CAD$19,850 CAD$5,248 for electrical works, carpeting and construction of a deck at the Zambian high commissioner’s residence in Canada.
The contracts were awarded to three Canadian private companies – Restcon Construction Services, Argos Carpet Limited and Stanmark Construction, respectively, without following laid-down procedure.
Testifying before chief resident magistrate Joshua Banda yesterday, former second secretary (accounts) at the Zambian Embassy in Ottawa, Canada, Emma Hamweetwa told the court that around August 2010, Mumba called her to his office where he asked her whether it was possible to open an account that could not be audited.
Ms Hamweetwa, 57, of Chalala Township told the court that she responded in the negative.
She said she was not aware that a private account had been opened until when the deputy high commissioner informed her about it.
Ms Hamweetwa said even when officers from the Auditor General and Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) visited the mission in November 2011 to investigate and carry out an audit of the donation of CAD$132, 000, she told them that she was not aware about it until it was mentioned to her by the deputy high commissioner.
She also disclosed to the court that Mumba authorised payments to companies that were refurbishing his residence even when he was fully aware that permission had not been granted from the headquarters in Lusaka. Ms Hamweetwa said although the payments that Mumba authorised were discussed by the procurement committee of the Ottawa mission, they were above the CAD$10,000 threshold the foreign mission enjoyed and, as such, he needed authorisation from Zambia to sanction it. Trial continues on October 20, 2014.