Ex-Zambian air force chief arrested on corruption charges

Thursday February 14 2019

 

By Michael Chawe @TheCitizenTZ news@tz.nationmedia.com

Lusaka. Zambia's former Air Force commander, Lt-General Eric Chimese, has been arrested on suspicion of “various criminal activities”.

The Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) said on Wednesday that Lt-Gen Chimese will be charged jointly with James Chungu, a director of Chita Lodges Limited.

The two are accused of “concealing property, wilfully giving false information, abuse of office, and possession of property reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime,” DEC’s spokeswoman Theresa Katongo said.

Lt-Gen Chimese, 50, was fired by President Edgar Lungu last year for unknown reasons.

The ex-military boss is accused of concealing ownership of a farm in Lusaka’s upmarket area of Ibex Hill on which nine fully furnished flats, an upstair house, a gym, visitors’ quarters, and semi-detached servants’ quarters have been developed.

Lt-Gen Chimese is purported to have claimed the properties belong to Chita Lodges.

Mr Chungu, 51, is accused of wilfully giving false information to the authorities on January 31, 2019 when he claimed that the Ibex properties are owned by Chita Lodges.

The authorities will also indict Lt-Gen Chimese for abuse of office for deploying soldiers to carry out construction works on his properties.

DEC said it has seized 13 fully furnished houses, a semi-detached home, and a gym in Lusaka.

The duo are out on police bond pending court hearing.

Observers say President Lungu is seeking to repair his government's image that is largely viewed as having a soft approach to graft.

Early this month, the Infrastructure minister Ronald Chitotela was arrested by the anti-graft commission for concealing property believed to have been bought with the proceeds of crime. He was released on bond pending to be arraigned.

However, critics cast doubt if any top officials could be successfully prosecuted.