The leader of Zambia’s main opposition Patriotic Front (PF) party has denied allegations he “illegally” gave about $100,000 to a Roman Catholic priest, Reverend Frank Bwalya, an avowed critic of President Rupiah Banda’s government, to launch attacks on his administration.
Michael Sata told VOA calls for an investigation are yet another attempt by the government and the ruling Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) to score what he calls cheap political points ahead of next year’s general elections.
“First of all, the man who issued that statement is a cheat (and) he is a shameless liar because I have never given $100,000, or even one dollar, to Father Frank Bwalya. And, even if I did, there would be no need for an investigation; investigating about what?”
The Committee of Citizens, a civil society organization, has called on Zambia’s Drug Enforcement Commission to investigate Sata, as well as the source of the alleged $100,000 saying it amounted to money laundering.
Michael Sata, Zambia's main opposition leader
Gregory Chifire, executive director of the Committee of Citizens, challenged Sata to reveal the source of the money.
“Any amount an individual, institution or company makes should be explained and relevant taxes levied on such monies. We wonder whether there is an explanation concerning this money and whether the Zambia Revenue Authority got any taxes.”
Edward Mumbi, a former secretary general of the opposition PF party, made the allegation at a recent news briefing in Zambia’s capital, Lusaka, that Sata gave about $100,000 to Bwalya.
But, Sata said the accusers should present their proof of guilt saying he never gave the alleged funds to Bwalya to launch attacks on President Banda’s administration.
“First of all, what investigations are you going to do, because the transaction he is talking about went through a bank, and, under our laws, there would be no money laundering if it goes through a bank. So, what investigation can they have? And, if we gave Father Bwalya $100,000 through a bank, it’s very easy to trace it. The point is, he (Mumbi) survives now on lying to Rupiah Banda so that Rupiah Banda can maintain him,” said Sata.
“They are so scared of Father Bwalya’s red card, so they will like to implicate him. The critics are feeling the pain (and) they are panicking because I’m telling the people the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. And, when you tell people the truth, the truth is very painful. That’s why they are all jumping like grasshoppers.”