Lopa, Yeta Deny Getting Cash From Sakala

FORMER Zambia Army commander Wisdom Lopa and former Zambia National Service commandant Anthony Yeta have denied ever receiving K500,000 each from their co-accused former Zambia Air Force commander Andrew Sakala.

This is in a matter in which the three former service chiefs are jointly charged with theft by public servant involving K1.5 million.

Particulars of the offence are that the trio between September 16 and September 21, 2011 in Lusaka, serving as defence service chiefs allegedly stole K1.5 million belonging to the Ministry of Defence.

The money was meant for defence operations during and after the 2011 tripartite elections.

Testifying in their defence before Principal Resident Magistrate Wilfred Muma, Gen Yeta said his co-accused Gen Sakala never gave any money arguing that had he received it, he would have signed for it somewhere as per practice.

Gen Yeta said commanders at their level did not carry money in the manner Gen Sakala had explained because it was too dangerous and were not allowed adding that Gen Sakala was also too senior to be distributing such kind of money.

“There is a procedure in Defence, one has to sign for the money received. With regard to public funds, you do not drive around with such kind of cash because when you dish out such kind of public funds, you need to have a receipt or just a paper to sign,” Gen Yeta said.

Asked by his lawyer Sakwiba Sikota on the allegation that he received K500,000 meant for operations, he replied “No I did not receive that money, according to procedure the director of finance deals with such and would have informed me if he had received such money,” he said.

Gen Lopa said he had never received the K500,000 meant for operations because he had already received K3.5 million from other wings to monitor security and operations in the country.

“I never stole any ngwee from the Government, that K500,000 never reached me. I used other monies from other security wings,” he said.

Gen Lopa said he did not report Gen Sakala to the police because he was too senior and that he meant to report to the joint security meeting but the trio was fired before it was convened.

“The fact that during the period that we are alleged to have stolen this money was during elections, the situation was extremely grave that had the Central Joint Operations Committee not acted prudently, this country would not have been the same,” Gen Lopa said.

The matter had since been adjourned to April 22 for cross examination.

Source : The Times of Zambia

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