Former ZAF Commander tells Court he gave his fellow Commandants K500, 000 each for 2011 elections operations

FORMER Zambia Air Force (ZAF) commander Andrew Sakala yesterday (November 4, 2013) told a Lusaka Magistrate’s court that he personally delivered K500,000 to each of his co-accused persons, who were also Service Chiefs.

Lt. Gen. Sakala is jointly charged with former Zambia National Service (ZNS) Commandant Anthony Yeta and former Zambia Army Commander, Wisdom Lopa for corruption involving K1.5 million meant for defence special operations during and after the 2011 tripartite elections.

Opening his defence yesterday led by his lawyer, Nganga Yalenga, Sakala, 60, told Principal Resident Magistrate Wilfred Muma that following a meeting with the Central Joint Committee (CJOC) , it was resolved that the three security chiefs be given K500,000 each for operations.

He said members of the committee were from Zambia Army, which was the chair, Office of the President as secretariat, Zambia Police as vice chair, ZAF and ZNS as members. He said membership on the committee was restricted to commanders only.

Lt. Gen. Sakala said when the money was received in the ZAF air craft higher account, he personally gave Yeta and Lopa K500,000 each.

“The director of finance Col Chibesa informed me that the money had been received, so I asked him to withdraw the first K500,000 and I called Major-General Yeta to inform him that the money for the operations was ready, and then I delivered it to his residence because it was late,” he said.

He said the second withdrawal was for the Zambia Army and he equally called Lopa and asked him to follow him to Chainama Golf Club where he handed over the K500,000.

“And the last K500,000, I personally got it and was used for operations,” he said.

Yeta had opted to remain silent, while Lopa would also give evidence on oath.

Meanwhile, the Magistrate has ordered that the matter be held in camera so that Sakala could tell the court how he used the money and explain why in some instances he was unable to produce receipts.

This was after another defence lawyer Sakwiba Sikota asked the accused how the court was going to believe that he handed over the money to his colleagues without producing any evidence.

In his response, Sakala said accountability would have been done at the next CJOC but could not meet since the trio was removed from their respective positions.

“I was going to read in detail through a report how the money was handed over and how it was used with or without receipts because these are highly secretive operations and cannot go into details. In such highly covert operations, there are no receipt presentations,” he said.

The matter continues today.

Courtesy of Times of Zambia