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I FOLLOWED PROCEDURE TO BUY MY BUSES – KATANGA

By LUCY PHIRI

FORMER Deputy Inspector General of Police Charity Masambo Katanga has told the court that all the 10 Higer buses which are alleged to be proceeds of crime were not suspiciously obtained but followed the right procedure.

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Katanga said in her defence yesterday that she bought the buses in instalments and has all the necessary documents and receipts.

She was testifying in a matter she is facing one count of possession of property reasonably suspected of being proceeds of crime contrary to section 71(1) of the forfeiture of the proceeds of crime Act No. 19 of 2010 of the laws of Zambia.

Katanga pleaded not guilty to corrupt practices involving more than K26 million.

Katanga said whilst in Ndola she engaged Higer buses as a senior police officer of fixed abode and entered into an agreement to purchase buses on credit. 

She said the turn up was very flexible so she got the two buses, one was valued at US$203, 000 and she got two which comes to a total of US$406, 000 which was being paid  in installments.

 “In Zambian Kwacha the value was K1.8 million each and the total was about K3.6 million. I was attested as a woman constable on March 1, 1996 in the Zambia Police Service where I started my career as detective. In 2005 I was upgraded from the rank of constable to assistance superintendent and my salary increased, I skipped four to five ranks, my upgrade was having obtained a law degree from the University of zambia in 2005.In 2008 upon been admitted to the bar and as a police officer working in government I was entitled to an allowance called non private practice allowance which was an incentive at the time,” she said. Katanga testified that she raised more money through work salaries, allowances, gratuity and pension which enabled her to purchase the buses. Trial continues 

She said her husband also had better payments which made it possible to engage in transport business.

“On December 30, 2020 I was appointed as Deputy Inspector General of police for a period of three years and I continued earning the salary which went to K42,000 per month and the record are before court.I worked for eight months as deputy inspector general and my contract was terminated by the current president Mr Hakainde Hichilema. And end of 2021 I got my benefits of about K1. 4 million.I wish to inform the court that my husband Chola Katanga and I became the same rank in 2010 as assistant commissioner. He served in various portfolios. He was also appointed as commissioner of police for Muchinga province and he was in titled to salaries and gratuity,” she said.

Katanga testified that the transport business was going on well such that they could get K1.8 on two buses. And she was still owing Higar about U$125,000.

She said any reasonable person standing in the shoes of the arresting officer who arrested her cannot be suprised or raise eyebrows on one getting the buses when they worked for long time, both with husband and wife.

“I challenge his suspicion for the following reasons the arresting officer relied on the salary for 2017 which excluded the salaries I obtained below 2017. The police officer never considered the K893,000 I got from the ministry of finance as gratuity, further he never considered the pension benefits that I got over K1.1million , thirdly the salaries that I earned as police commissioner which where ignored, fourthly he disregarded the benefits I had which I served as commissioner at national institutional conference, it was in public domain, the arresting officer never went further to consider that as a senior police officer even before commissioner at least I was traveling out of the country and within and I was entitled to allowances, she submitted.

It is alleged that Katanga between January 1, 2017 and June 6, 2022 in Lusaka jointly and whilst acting together with other person’s unknown did possess ten Higer buses all together valued at K26,282,770.00 , property reasonably suspected of being proceeds of crime.

Matter had been Adjourned to October 16 and 17 for continued defense.

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