By GRACE CHAILE LESOETSA
DRUG Enforcement Commission (DEC) Director General Mary Chirwa has been accused of committing perjury by giving contradictory and misleading information to a court for the purpose of avoiding to present evidence and documentation to justify the seizure and continued freezing of Harry Valden Findlay his wife and associated companies which were seized by the state on allegations of money laundering, which they have denied and challenged in court.
When the matter came in court earlier this month the state opposed an application by the Findlay’s for the DEC to produce documentation justifying the seizure at which point the state pleaded immunity from production of evidence as demanded by the Findlay’s.
Ms Chirwa was on April 22, 2022, summoned to appear before High Court Judge Susan Wanjelani to give evidence of the alleged money laundering activities by the Findlay family which led to the freezing of the bank accounts.
The State however filed an application challenging the decision to subpoena the DEC boss and contended it was malafide, abusive and oppressive.
Attorney General Mulilo Kabesha said the demand sought to compel DEC to prematurely and prejudicially reveal information regarding ongoing criminal Investigations against Mr Findlay and others.
In an affidavit in support of summons for an order for leave to cross examine Ms Chirwa, director and shareholder in Greenview Service Providers, Daniel Daka, contended that Ms Chirwa contradicted herself when she said that the Joint Task Force investigation team does not exist and at the same time saying the report is subject to public interest immunity.
Mr Daka said documents filed in court must be truthful and factual so as not to mislead the court.
He said from the contents of her affidavit, there is an attempt to mislead the court which is a serious offence and perjury, thus the petitioners should be allowed to cross examine her to establish the truthfulness of the contents.
“ That where evidence is strongly contested and the credibility of a witness is being put in issue, particularly in relation to the existence or non-existence of the document sought for production, the Joint Task Force Investigation team report and access is denied by the respondent, in the interest of justice and fair adjudication demand that the petitioners ought to be granted an opportunity to confront the witness and elicit by means of cross examination of the witness the correct and true position,” he stated.
He added that the cross examination seeks to clarify how the two documents Ms Chirwa was expected to produce as evidence is subject of public interest immunity.
Mr Findlay states that on August 16, just after the announcement of the August 12, 2021 general elections, the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) directed the freezing of bank accounts held at First Alliance Bank without any formal communication to the petitioners.
The said accounts are Harry Findlay account no.0010010071003, Dessislava Findlay account no. 0010010271037 and 0010010271002.
Other accounts are Twatotela Properties Limited Kwacha account no.101023160002 and D. Findlay and Associates Kwacha account no. 1010231001 and 1010231004, Chrismar Earth Moving equipment account no.0010102264001 and account no.0060700335001 belonging to Green View Service Providers Limited.
But Mr Kabesha contended that DEC froze the accounts because the petitioners are being investigated for money laundering activities which include a payment of K386, 265, 277 from the Ministry of Finance to the law firm.
The Findlay family denied any involvement in money laundering activities or having received such a payment.
Mr Findlay said Ms Chirwa should be cross-examined to clarify if the joint Task Force Investigation Team exists or not and why its report is subject to public immunity. In this matter, Mr Findlay has petitioned the High Court together with his wife Dessislava Findlay, and D. Findlay and Associates as first, second and third petitioners, to have their accounts unfrozen because there was no basis for the seizure.
Others are Twatotela Properties Limited, Chrismar Earth Moving Equipment Limited and Greenview Service Providers Limited as fourth, fifth and sixth petitioners respectively.
The petitioners have asked for leave of the court to cross examine Ms Chirwa so that she gives clarity on how the two documents are privileged from production on the basis of public interest immunity.