Tuesday, October 25, 2005

 

The Post - Xavier Chungu

The Zambian most free private newspaper has been removed from internet in Zambia. I wonder what has happened... Would the Government have been affraid of an announced interview with Mr. Chungu, the former Intelligence Chief?
It is curious that after The Post announced, Friday (21st) and Sutarday (22nd), an interview with the referred to Intelligence Chief to be printed on the last 23rd October, that newspaper is no longer available on the net.
Zamnet has removed The Post from it's site saying that the traffic generated by The Post nwespaper was creating technical difficulties that they could not overpass. How is that possible when all Government papers are appearing???
Anyhow, it is a strange coincidence that the technical difficulties have been realised only at the time that the interview with Mr. Xavier Chungu was announced.

Thus, and on behalf of Press Freedom, we take the liberty of transcribing that interview in this blog, reminding people that it came out on the Cover Page of the Sunday Post eddiction, on the 23rd October 2005.


I WOULD HAVE BEEN KILLED - CHUNGU - IF I DIDN'T FLEE

Former Intelligence Chief Xavier Chungu has said he would have been killed if he didn't flee the Country.
In an exclusive interview the jovial Chungu declared that he is now ready to return home to face the law and his accusers. He refused to declare where he is and what he is doing.
"I will tell you in due course." Chungu said in a telephonic interview.
"I have heard that there is speculation that I am in Canada or Europe, I am not in those places. I also heard that some people were looking for me in Lilanda compound, of all places. Why should I hide in Lilanda even if I were to come back?"
Chungu said his life away from home has been hard and sometimes unbearable.
"It's only that I have a heart and I don't want to be remebering these things." Chungu said. "Things have really been terrible, sometimes I have had to go for seven days on a loaf of bread. I know you can't believe this but that's the truth. I have slpet in people's backyards. Currently I am staying in a guest quarter of some Good Samaritan somewhere."
When I guest quarter, you might think it is some luxurious place. It is just what you can call a servant quarter in Lusaka. And this is the man you say has got a lot of plundered money.
But we didn't need to get to this. All what President Mwanawassa needed to do was to seat me down together with the current (his successor Regis Phiri) and we could have explained a lot of things for his understanding. He didn't need even Dr. Chiluba to be around.
"What happened in some cases, happened and hapens worldwide in this (intelligence) work. Otherwise, that Task Force would not achieve anything and the result of what they are doing is that the Police and the OP have now been weakened. We didn't need to get to this point of weakening our security institutions.
Bellow is the verbatim of Chungu's interview with The Post. Chungu fled the Country about two years ago in the middle of corruption and theft charges against him.
Amos, please, pass my greetings to all your colleagues in the Post and all the friends in the Media in the country. I miss you all.

My answers to the questions are as follows:

Question: How are you and were are you? What are you doing where you are? How did you leave the country?

Answer: I know that you all want to know where I am. I know that you all want to know how I got out of the country.
I totally understand your concerns. But please bear with me for the time being. I can only assure you that I am healthy and fit as ever, or say fitter than some of my colleagues you are with at home.
Of course life has been extremely difficult without the means of survival that I have been accused of plundering… But, boy oh boy, is there anything on this earth that would be worse than life in those Zambian prisons – the Donza Republic.
Mr. Mwanawasa has made the whole world to believe that he is fighting corruption when he is just trying to eliminate people he has perceived as political threats and at the same time, his Task Force has found the claims to fight corruption a very lucrative source of power.

Question: Why did you flee the country? 4. If you are innocent, as you always are, why run away?

Answer: I want to let you know that my life was in danger at the time I left my country. I would have not been alive by now had I not decided on leaving the country. I wonder if the police have ever disclosed the results of their investigation into the attempt to poison me while I was in prison…
I left the country because I was told to do so. I was told that I was going back in prison for yet two more motor vehicle theft charges or I was going to be killed by paid armed robbers. At that time the Task Force had two cars at their offices on which they wanted to base their new false charges. The Director General of the Office of the President (SD) has already retrieved one of the two cars, while the Task Force is still holding on to the second one, which is actually my own personal car. I am sure I will be accused of steeling my own personal car immediately I come back…
It was just too much. I have had enough of the unwarranted persecution. After one and half years in prison on false motor vehicle theft charges, and after losing my wife and traumatizing my children to that extent, I needed a break. I have had my break and I feel so relaxed even though without my children who have been displaced with no sure means of survival and education.
Please remember that I was acquitted on 4 charges of 26 counts of motor vehicle theft and two other charges against me were withdrawn by the State for lack of evidence.

Question: Do you intend to come back and face your accusers, is so when? If not, why?

Answer: I am actually planning to come back home soon. I want to come and face any eventual accusations that might come up, including those of corrupting friends of the service as a Chief of Intelligence. I am aware that the President intends to revoke the bail on motor vehicle theft, or create another unbailable crime to use against me, as soon as I get back into the Country.
I want the Courts of Law to vindicate me and clear my name forever. I am not going to accept a pardon from any President, of course, to come after Mr. Mwanawasa. I want my name to be cleared by the Courts of Law. No more, no less.

Question: How do you feel when you read about some of your colleagues undergoing trial before the courts of law with a possibility of being convicted?

Answer: I feel very sad, indeed. The accusations they are facing are related with the Zamtroop and the Intelligence activities. I want to quote Prime Minister Tony Blair who, when asked to comment upon the intrusion into the United Nations Secretary General’s office in New York, by what was alleged to be the British Intelligence, said: “Only a mad Head of State would comment on his country’s Intelligence activities.” And the Prime Minister has, since, forgotten about the issue. Do you think it is wise for the ex-Chief of Intelligence to comment on the activities of his Country’s National Intelligence??? I will be the last to do so.

Question: It is alleged that you and FMK were the masterminds of the alleged national plunder, what is your comment?

Answer: First, I must say that I do not know about the National plunder that the Task Force has been talking about. I think the leaders of the Task Force are the ones that are plundering the National resources through their exorbitant fees and allowances, purely to expose Intelligence activities.
Secondly, as far as Zamtroop account is concerned, Faustin did whatever he did for and on behalf of ZSIS. In this circumstance, I should have been the first one to complain about his conduct, but I never did.

Question: If you say you are not a plunderer, why do you say so?

Answer: Simply because whatever I did was for and on behalf of Mother Zambia, according to the powers granted to me by the ZSIS Act 14 of 1998. Don’t you think that someone that cannot defend himself due to his Status is a good target for lame accusation???

Question: How did you finance the renovations of your Kabulonga house?

Answer: The Kabulonga house was renovated through a bank loan from Access Financial Services, using the rentals of my old house to redeem the loan. In addition, after the works, the Bank held on to the house, rented it and received the rentals-making a total of more than US$ 5000.00 repayments a month. I already explained this to the Task Force who has preferred to create its own false stories with political intentions.

Question: It is alleged that you inflated payments for the construction of the fence at the High Court in Lusaka, any defence?

Answer: I never dealt with the contractor. The office of the President (SD) has all the documentation about all the security programs that they have been put in place and there are officers who were responsible for these programs. The wall fence at the High Court is just one of the many security programs that were in motion to protect our installations in the Country according to their classification.

Question: What was your interest in Motor City and Poly Packers?

Answer: If you would understand my intentions to create business activities for the Intelligence Organisation then you would understand what could have been my interests, as the Director General of the ZSIS, in the said companies together with so many other activities that were being created. I had never had any personal interest in any company in the Country or elsewhere.

Question: It is said that you had a lot of access to money from Zanaco, where did it all go or did you remain with some change?

Answer: As Director General of ZSIS I had an excellent working relation with Zanaco. They helped the Government to solve quite a lot of programs through my office. My staff at the office managed all the monies that were sourced from Zanaco and the same officers will be able to explain where the money went to or what it was used for. One thing I can assure you is that I never put any of that money into my pocket. You may also need to know that the Task Force has searched in the banks all over the world with the help of their very competent cooperating partners and they have not found any accounts belonging to me.

Question: There are a lot of properties which have been seized by TF on corruption and some people you worked with closely, like FMK claim that the same properties belong to the OP but the OP on other hand say they are not aware, did you hand over such issues to your successor?

Answer: There are officers who had taken stock of the properties long before the end of 2001, which were intended for business purpose for the Office of the President (SD). You may wish to know that the man who took over office from me was not allowed to ever meet with me to formally take over the office. Up to now, I have not normally handed over the office, as it should be done. In fact, I had to force Mr. Phiri to come to the office to take over the desk. The Office of the President (SD), like all other Intelligence Organisation world over, has a code of discipline that not just every officer will know what the Director-General does – it is the “need to know” principle. The curios thing is that the Task Force is seizing Government properties!

Question: It is an open secret that the OP funded or supported the MMD financially and otherwise in 2001 elections, could you tell me everything you know about this issue?

Answer: Remember my submissions to the Supreme Court? I still stand by those submissions.
I hope and pray that you will not reject my submissions at that time simply because I was coming from prison. If that would be the case, would you then accept them now since I am no longer in prison? Or will you reject them because I am not in the Country?

Question: Some people do not like to hear the word "rigging", could you tell me if the 2001 elections were free and fair, at least from your perspective?

Answer: It is difficult for me to comment on that, even considering my referred to submissions. Remember that the Supreme Court has already made the ruling on the matter. If there shall be need to revisit the Supreme Court ruling, then the process of Law will dictate.

Question: Sorry to touch in this very personal issue and I apologise in advance if any of the family members will take offence of the issue. But I thought we should discuss this matter, personal as it is. This concerns the death of your dear wife Daisy. A lot of people linked her death to the alleged depression she suffered following your incarceration but some people suggested that she suffered from AIDS related illness and therefore there was no need for your relatives and friends to politicise this matter. I am sure this statement is not news to you and I now seek your comment on the same.

Answer: I do appreciate your politeness, as you understand that this matter is very sensitive to me. I know that some people were very uncomfortable during the funeral of my wife. They thought that I was going to cry fowl and start fingers pointing. I have always taken my HIV/AIDS tests and I did so just immediately before and after leaving prison. The result has always been the same: Negative. Recently I took another test and the result was also negative. It seems like some people are very uncomfortable with me being healthy and HIV negative, but that is a fact.

Question: I am sure you have been following the happenings here via the Internet. There is a fuel crisis in the nation, what do you have to say about this?

Answer: Of course it is a very worrying matter that should have been avoided with good planning. I understand that it is not just fuel that has run out. I read that most parts of Lusaka had no water. I believe Indene Oil Refinery was installed long back and not as new facility. It means that the equipment must be obsolete and cannot perform anymore. Then there is the question of funds availability to procure the crude. In my view the problem requires the attention of the business community, especially those who deal in Oil. In the circumstance there is need for an assuring political will by the Government to allow for a long-term solution.

Question: If you were asked to spill the beans, what would you say about the former, current and many other issues that you know of?

Answer: On one hand, as a former Chief of Intelligence, I would be guilty of treason if I were to comment on the activities of my leaders. I was under oath, always on oath and I shall die on oath. On the other hand, as a common Zambian citizen, I must respect my President and the people who voted for him, regardless his personal difficulties.

Question: Now, could you tell me anything that you would have loved to put on record but I did not ask about?

Answer: Not for the time being. If and when I have something to say, I will quickly communicate to you. Otherwise, it was nice talking with you after a long time. I will definitely come back. I love my Country and I will see you soon. What is important for now is that I am alive.

Comments:
Freedom,Freedom,Freedom that we talk about,Freedom that we hear so much about wher are you?What has LPM done to you?
It is very sad indeed for tyhe Post to be removed from the Net.LPM promised us a land of laws and not of men!Why should he resort to tactics aimed at muzzling thge press?We,the People shall hold him accountable on the Day of reckoning.Elections are just around the corner!Beware bamwinsho,ifintu filachinja...Keep your promise and stop harrassing innocent Zambians.Tifuna development muziko and not selective justicetargeting a few individuals.See you in November,2006.
 
This makes an interesting time to sort of compare the due process of Law in Zambia and USA. In the US, the president vowed to see the person that had outed a CIA operative's name and now they seem to have gotten some heads rolling.In Zambia however, inspite of the initail enthusiasm shown by the man @the top( Actually the process was hijacked from the independent press and a movement of the public @large)the Fight against Corruption/Plunder has floundered. The prosecution with all the public resources @ its disposal has unfortunately only overseen countless cases which have ended in acquitalls. One may beg to ask or begin to believe that this can only mean one of two things, 1) Lack of Evidence or 2)The complete incompetency of the prosecution. For all the Huffing & Puffing that we have experienced, millions of public funds have been haemorraged into the pockets of the Task Force and the Prosecutors whilst the public have remained spectators of this long running circus. The Tax payers have ended up with nothing to show for the huge investment undertaken on their behalf by the incumbent Govt. A Govt. briming with Lawyers. I wonder what legacy the law fraternity leaves behind after their time in office. I think it is high time, as 2006 is just round the corner, Zambia took a long look @ itself and came off it's rollercoaster ride and Elected a govt by majority. Eligible voters have to realise that staying away will only entrench the current cabal of politicians in power. This is , however, a two process, in that either the current opposition organises itself to pose as a formidable contestant or new contestants will have to come into play, those taht have not been smeared by the previous political players. These may come from areas such as the Civil Service, Trade unions, Civil Society etc. This is a challenge I leave to all my fellow Zambians; Remember, it's not for lack of brain power that we are in the state we are in, but for picking the wrong people, it's time we critically analysed quick flicking tongues!!!

Yours , Mwisho!
 
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