’I Didn’t Get K500,000 Insists Lopa’

FORMER Zambia Army commander, Wisdom Lopa has insisted that he did not get the K500, 000 from former Zambia Air Force (ZAF) commander Andrew Sakala, saying his defence wing was well-funded at the time.

Lopa said his wing had before the elections requested for funding in order for him to ensure the security situation in the country was contained and he received K3.5 million.

This is in a matter in which the three former service chiefs, Lopa, Sakala and former Zambia National Service (ZNS) commander Anthony Yeta are jointly charged with theft by public servant involving K1.5 million.

The three former service chiefs, between September 16 and September 21, 2011, were alleged to have stolen K1.5 million, money meant for operations before, during and after the elections.

But Lopa told deputy director of local court, Wilfred Muma who sat as principal magistrate during cross-examination yesterday that when the defence chiefs went to State House to brief the new commander of the armed forces about the situation of the security in the country, he did not raise the issue of receiving the K500,000 because it was of less importance compared to the issues of national security.

Lopa said the Central Joint Operations Committee (CJOC) meeting, which was held on September 14, 2011, resolved to allocate K500,000 to each of the defence wings including the Zambia Police for covert operations before, during and after the elections.

Lopa, who was the chairperson of the CJOC, said it was resolved in the same meeting that the money would be transmitted directly to the different services and not through ZAF which was headed by Sakala.

He said before the meeting at State House, he requested for money to be allocated to his wing and received the K3.5 million.

He said when he did not receive the K500,000 allocated to his wing at the CJOC, he was not worried because his wing was well-funded at the time, adding that he did not object to the allocation of K500,000 as such funding was always forthcoming.

Lopa said if the money was sent directly to the ZAF account as was alleged by Sakala, it was a departure against what was agreed upon during the CJOC meeting.

He said he only learnt that Sakala was given the money when the Government Joint Investigations Team interrogated him on the matter.

He insisted that what he received in a black bag from Sakala where wine and sexual boosters, in form of herbs were contained.

He said the sexual booster was sent to him through Sakala from a ZAF officer who was attached at the Zambian Embassy in Tanzania.

Lopa said when asked by one of the State prosecutors how it was possible to receive sexual boosters at the time, he explained that he was going through pressure during the period of elections.

Meanwhile, Mr Muma has granted Lopa, Sakala and Yeta, applications for each of them to subpoena two witnesses.

Trial continues on May 6, 2014.

Source : The Times of Zambia

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