The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has said the alleged closed circuit television (CCTV) footage from State residences showing former president Joyce Banda meeting with businessperson and Cashgate suspect Osward Lutepo on 23 occasions borders on criminal investigations which the graft-busting body has been carrying out.
Lutepo, who is facing multiple charges of theft, money laundering and conspiracy to commit murder, named Banda as the mastermind of Cashgate, alleging that his companies were used to siphon money from government which he gave to the former president.
However, nearly seven days after Minister of Information, Tourism and Culture Kondwani Nankhumwa told the media that the footage had been handed over to ACB, the bureau’s deputy director Reyneck Matemba said in an interview on WednesdayACB is yet to get the footage.
Matemba said if the ACB were to receive the CCTV footage, it would not come to them through the Ministry of Information, Tourism and Culture.
Nankhumwa had earlier said that the footage would not be released to the public, but be left to the ACB to scrutinise and make an independent decision on whether to use it as part of evidence in ongoing Cashgate cases.
In some of the Cashgate cases, the prosecution and even defence lawyers have applied for evidence such as telephone call logs and details of bank accounts and contracts through the court.
On Wednesday, Nankhumwa could not say whether ACB had requested for the CCTV footage through the courts to warrant a public announcement of its handover.
A day after Nankhumwa’s announcement, the former president told the nation that CCTV cameras had not been functioning at State House from 2010 until the time she left in May this year.
The government has not said anything to counter Banda’s claims that the CCTV was not functional, prompting some commentators to describe last week’s statements from government as an attempt to divert the attention of the people from the ongoing problems of strikes and financial accountability at the National Aids Commission (NAC).