By Mwaka Ndawa
A SENIOR accountant in charge of expenditure at the Ministry of Finance has told the Economic and Financial Crimes Court that senior accountant at the same ministry Charles Loyana obtained 12 loans accumulating to K530,000 between 2006 and 2016.
This is in a matter where Loyana and his wife Susan Sinkala, an assistant accountant at the Ministry of Works and Supply, are facing charges of possessing and concealing 51 properties worth K37.9 million suspected to be proceeds of crime.
Testifying before magistrate Faidess Hamundu, Sharon Chunga, a senior account in charge of expenditure at the Ministry of Finance said sometime in 2020, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) requested for information relating to the loans obtained by Loyana from the same ministry.
“I instructed my junior to compile the information. After information was compiled, it was discovered that Loyana acquired 12 loans between 2006 and 2016; the loans amounted to K530,000,” Chunga testified. “Out of the 12 loans he got, 11 were car loans and only one was a household loan amounting to K30,000.”
In cross examination by Loyana’s lawyer Willis Muhanga, Chunga confirmed that there was no application form for the loans filled by Loyana before court to support her evidence.
Chunga said she did not know how many cars Loyana purchased or whatever he really used the funds as intended.
She said she would not know whether he bought plots using the loans he obtained.
Asked if the loan facility was the only income that Loyana generated, Chunga said she would not know.
Chunga said she did not know any civil servant who owned property in her entire 12 years of practice in the civil service, neither had she obtained a loan.
She further said she had not bothered to inquire whether the loans obtained by Loyana had been used for the specific purpose.
Asked if civil servants were at liberty to obtain loans from different money lending companies and whether there was no condition for them to get house loans specifically to build houses, Chunga responded in the affirmative.
She said she did not know other businesses which Loyana was engaged in.
In re-examination Chunga said she did not produce other documents before court as the ACC requested for information regarding the loans obtained and the dates they were acquired; and that was the reason she only produced specific documents.
Earlier in cross examination, businessman Lombe Bwalya told the court that Loyana legally purchased plots from him, neither was it wrong for him to buy the pieces of land for his children.
“It was not illegal for Loyana to buy land for his children but I advised him that the children were minors and could not hold property. He then instructed us to register them under Mr Chali Chitala, I don’t know his intentions but we do what we are instructed to do as the reasons were known by himself,” Bwalya said.
He told the court that the plots were advertised in The Post newspaper which is now defunct and brochures were sent to different institutions and distributed office by office.
He said it was an open market and anyone who qualified purchased the plots for their children, relatives and parties of their choice.
Asked if there were any requirements to report any anomalies to an agent of the State or investigative wings before selling property to his customers and whether the customers are required to report to the ACC that they had purchased land from Lombe Bwalya Associates, the witness responded in the negative.
“There was no limit on the number of houses a person would purchase. We were issuing designs of the houses to be built as we wanted to have a standard for the structures, but others decided to do something else,” Bwalya said. “I didn’t know Mr Loyana was a civil servant and civil servants were not restricted from buying property, in fact many civil servants bought land from me.”
Asked if he was concerned about his clients’ source of income Bwalya declined.
“Mr Loyana had a customer account for payments. In 2012 he paid K60,000 and it was allotted as follows: K30,000 to plot H and K30,000 plot I. The modes of payment were three either by cash, cheque and electronically,” he said. “The properties were purchased in phases and not at the same time. On the bare land he only paid 20% and he owes K540,000. The reason I said I have an interest in the 12 plots is because the sale was not concluded as there was a restriction by ACC.”
He confirmed that land could be held in trust for another person and that buyers were not restricted from holding land in trust for other people.
Bwalya said he was not concerned about title deeds that the buyers held after purchasing land whether by transfer, gift or trust.
Asked if Loyana’s wife purchased land, Bwalya denied.
“The purchaser can choose to do anything with the property as long as it’s within the law. Mr Loyana paid in cash for the plots himself and not Mr Chali Chitala,” said Bwalya.
Trial continues on July 23.