ACC FREEZES NEMCHEMs BANK ACCOUNTS ON ALLEGATIONS OF FRAUD
THE Anti-Corruption Commission has frozen bank accounts belonging to NEMCHEM International Limited and its managing director Toni Burato pending investigations for fraud.
This follows a complaint of money laundering, corruption and fraud lodged by Cleaning Association of Zambia president Lawrence Makumbi against NEMCHEM and National Union of Professional Cleaners and Allied Workers (NUPCAW) which was found by Burato.
In his complaint dated April 26, 2023 Makumbi indicated that between 2015 and 2016 NUPCAW was formed with the purpose of representing the workers in the cleaning fraternity vis-A-viz their contractual obligations, conditions of service and general welfare.
He said the company had no Bank account at any Zambian Bank since inception until May 27, 2022.
“Money collected from workers has never been audited and to avoid any financial trail in case of investigations, the money was handled in form of cash from 2015 to 2022,” Makumbi said.
“Money collected from unionized cleaners or workers subscribing to the union was used at the discretion of Nemchem management and various personal properties, gifts and bribes were bought or given from the money collected under the guise of union deductions.”
He said NEMCHEM has employed 7000 unionized workers who are charged between K21 and K50 every month which is cumulative to approximately K150,000.
“The money is supposed to be remitted to the union account and accounted for just like any other public funds,” Makumbi said.
He alleged that Toni Burato and NEMCHEM squandered union fees and purchased Shamba lodge in Kitwe, Maramba river lodge in Livingstone, two luxury boats a small plane, Nsofu safaris in lower Zambezi and a housing complex.
Makumbi further claimed that the duo also purchased luxurious and simple vehicles and pieces of land in Northwestern province.
He also disclosed that Some of the money was used to invest in new NEMCHEM projects in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Angola Mauritius, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria as the funds are used as free money or interest free cash.
“As a concerned citizen and member of the cleaners union, I am deeply concerned that union accounts have never been audited and further that the union operations are under the control of the company NEMCHEM International,” he contended.
“There has never been a circulation of a financial report and the fact that money deducted from 2015 when the union was formed to the year 2021 was handled as cash raises a lot of concerns.”
He requested the Anti-graft body to undertake a forensic audit of the money which the union (NUPCAW) has been collecting from workers since 2015