My companies have never engaged in illicit dealings – GBM

FORMER defence minister Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba has told the court that all his business dealings, bank transactions were genuine, honest, legal and his company has never been found in illicit business.

In his defense yesterday, Mwamba told magistrate Sandford Ngobola sitting under the Economic and Financial crimes court that he had a good relationship with the three banks he was involved with, and at no point did they mention that the accounts were suspicious.

“We had a relationship with Investrust bank, ABSA and First alliance bank, at no point did they mention that our account was suspicious. We have been running our business genuinely and sincerely. Associating our company to illegal business would be unfair.  And those who are associating our business to illicit dealings are unfair. Our companies has always been genuine in the operations and those who may want to think our dealing are illegal could be unfair to us,” he said.

In this matter, Mwamba pleaded not guilty to eight counts of conflict of interest, one count of money laundering and 15 counts of being in possession of property suspected to be proceeds of crime.

Mwamba also testified that Arizona marketing and distributors limited are still the major grain buyers not only in Northern Province, but Lusaka and are currently sitting on not less than 10,000 tonnes of maize valued at US$4.7million.

“GBM Foods Supply Limited now (Arizona) was a supplier to Zambia defence forces. I was supplying fish, beans, rice, Kapenta and mealie meal. Thereafter I started growing my business. I opened a company called Germins Motor ways, it was a car hire. Which were hired out to the ministry of foreign affairs,” he said.

Mr. Mwamba also disclosed that when Germins Motor ways grew, he bought a fleet of brand new 40 Marcopolo buses at a cost of U$D60 million and these resources came from what he generated from Germins car hire.

He submitted that in September 2011, when he was appointed as minister of defense, he received a few friends who wanted to do business in the ministry.

Meanwhile, the state has objected Mwamba’s submission of a letter he wrote to the PS to declare interest in writing in relation to contract in count one to eight stating that it is a photocopy.

It is alleged in count one that Mwamba on unknown date but between December 27, 2012 and March, 31 2013 in Lusaka, being a public officer, namely, Minister of Defence, did fail to disclose interest in writing, relating to Contract No. MPC 111-12 for the supply and delivery of General Purpose Shelter Tents for Zambia Army, valued at US$ 1,220,000.00, a transaction that concerns the Ministry of Defence, a public body.

The matter has been adjourned to March 24 for ruling.

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