General Sakala explains K500m expenditure

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FORMER Zambia Air Force (ZAF) commander Andrew Sakala says he would have been arrested by the police if he had embezzled K500 million which he used for intelligence operatives.
This is in a matter in which former ZAF, Zambia Army and Zambia National Service (ZNS) commanders Andrew Sakala, Wisdom Lopa and Anthony Yeta, respectively, are in court for theft of K1.5 billion meant for operations during the 2011 tripartite elections.
General Sakala said it was decided in a Central Joint Operation Committee (CJOC) meeting which was chaired by former Zambia Army commandant  Wisdom Lopa  that each commandant receives K500 million.
He said the chairperson had the right to query the whereabouts of the money had it not been used for the right purpose.
“I would have been reported to the police if I had stolen the money. The process of suspecting that I had embezzled the money did not apply because the chair had the right to come back to me if he did not receive the money,” Gen Sakala said.
Gen Sakala said the CJOC agreed that K500 million was to be distributed among the three defence institutions to conduct intelligence operations and that he personally delivered the money to the other two commandants.
“I personally delivered the K500 million to ZNS commander at his official residence and I delivered the money to the Zambia Army commander at Chainama Hills Golf Club,” Gen Sakala said.
He said he was unable to prepare a report after all the money had been disbursed and used in operations because he was removed from office when the Patriotic Front (PF) administration came into office after the general elections.
Gen Sakala said he was also unable to retire the K500 million given to the ZAF for operatives because the officers that he had gave the money to had not retired the money.
“I was supposed to surrender the receipts, report and retire the money but this did not happen because I was retired from office and there was no sitting of the CJOC. I did not retire the money,” he said.
Gen Sakala said there was no paper trail of the money because the K1.5 billion, which was to be shared among the three institutions, was agreed in the meeting and that it was transferred from the Office of the President (OP) account to the Zambia Air Force account.
“There was no paperwork involved, neither was there a letter or note from the director finance ZAF to the OP acknowledging receipt of the money,” Gen Sakala said.
He said he informed the ZAF director of finance to expect a sum of K1.5 billion in the hire account meant for the Zambia Army, ZNS and ZAF.
Gen Sakala said the director of finance ZAF used a cheque and no voucher was involved to withdraw the money.
He said he could not remember the informers that he used to get intelligence information because he did not care to know where they lived or what their names were.
Gen Sakala said it was the credibility of the information which was more important than the names or residence of the informant.
He said as commanders, they had to receive the money and use it for what was agreed in the meeting.

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