Zaheeda Essa, an employee of one of Zambia’s most wealth businessmen, Finance Bank Chairman Rajan Mahtani, has been arrested for perjury, criminal libel and false swearing.
This follows her repudiation of information she gave confirming that Rajan Mahtani had allegedly used underhanded methods to remove owners of Zambezi Portland Cement, who have since been deported from Zambia in unclear circumstances.
Essa was arrested yesterday in the afternoon around 15:30 after she was summoned to appear before the probe team for giving false information to a public officer contrary to section 125 of the Penal Code.
Essa was also arrested for other two offences, namely false swearing contrary to section 109 of the Penal Code in relation to the affidavit sworn on the 27th June 2012 and criminal libel contrary to section 191 of the Penal code in relation to the allegations of having forced her to make false affidavits and statements, the allegations of blackmail which she caused to be published in the national media and on the internet.
Dr. Mahtani is a well known financier of the ruling Patriotic Front party, and a close ally of President Michael Sata.
In statements, Ms Essa revealed that Dr. Mahtani, in his capacity as Chairman of leasing Finance Company, instituted false and malicious proceedings against Ventriglia and Valerio Ventriglia, owners of Zambezi Portland Cement. She further revealed that Dr. Mahtani had allegedly paid off a number of judicial officers as well as police officers to “teach the Ventriglias a lesson,” whose passport was at one stage taken away.
Later, however, Ms Essa repudiated the statements and alleged that she was forced into issuing them, while accusing state Counsel Sakwiba Sikota of orchestrating the report.
According to the documents availed to the Daily Nation, Essa complained against Mr. Sikota for professional misconduct on 27 October 2012.
“Ms. Essa approached Mr. Sikota and requested that he be present whenever the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) would be taking statements from her as she had decided to cooperate as she wanted to come out clean as to what Mr. Mahtani had been doing not only to the Mandenakis, Ventriglia and Salama families but also to other business people. She wanted to clean herself because her conscience would not allow her to keep on ‘lying’ on behalf of Mr. Mahtani,” the documents stated.
Source: Zambia Daily Nation