Economy

DEC to Arrest Lawyer over Shoprite Checkers Share Sale

The Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) plans to arrest Lusaka lawyer Lewis Mosho regarding the controversial sale of Shoprite Checkers shares in Zambia.

Lewis Mosho is a senior partner in Lewis Nathan Advocates, which was the transfer secretary for Shoprite Checkers.

The DEC plant to arrest Mosho because they suspect that he was involved in money laundering activities regarding the transfer of Shoprite Checkers shares.

DEC deputy commissioner Lottie Mpundu could neither confirm or deny the story when contacted.

Representatives of Shoprite Checkers in South Africa could not respond to press queries sent to them by press time.

According to inside sources at the DEC, the commission plans to nab Mosho immediately three investigators who had gone to collect evidence from Shoprite Checkers headquarters in Cape Town, South Africa return to Zambia on July 4, 2012.

Three DEC investigators had gone to South Africa on Wednesday, June 27, 2012 to collect evidence from Shoprite Checkers.

The shares under perspective are worth K49 billion.

The transfer saga of shares dates back to the year 2009 when the DEC ignored Mosho’s letter in which the lawyer was alerting the commission that Shoprite Checkers had instructed him to remit proceeds amounting to about K49 billion to a South African agent T. van Tonder without following procedure.

Mosho was prompted to alert the DEC because Shoprite Checkers had given him the instruction to remit the money in huge cash withdrawals, which was an anomaly.

However, the DEC ignored the letter of 2009, but the new Commissioner Alita Mbahwe has claimed to have seen it for the first time when the matter resurfaced recently.

The letter went missing from the DEC registry, but a probe revealed that Mosho’s correspondence was delivered to the DEC and received at both the main entrance and registry letter book. Copies of the documents from DEC indicate that the missing letter was properly received and acknowledged.

In 2011, Shoprite Checkers lodged a complaint with the DEC after a Kitwe High Court freezing order against Lewis Nathan Advocates was thrown out.

The DEC went on to freeze bank accounts for the Lewis Nathan Advocates and partner Mosho on allegations that they were investigating the sale of Shoprite Checkers shares.

However, after a judicial review, the Lusaka High Court ordered the DEC to release the frozen bank accounts on grounds that the commission over-stepped both the logic and confine of the probe.

The three investigators who are in South Africa are Frederick Chishala, Mathias Kamanga and a Mr Kanjela who is expected to be the first to return to Zambia on Sunday, July 1, 2012.

Shoprite Checkers is paying for all the expenses, but the move remains questionable because Shoprite Checkers is an interested party to the matter since the chain store firm had lost a court case in Kitwe over the sale of shares.

Sources at the DEC said the commission had also assigned the three officers to purchase complicated surveillance equipment, which is used to capture deleted computer data.

The DEC sources have said the commission is reluctant to use the computer surveillance equipment to check the authenticity of Shoprite Checkers’ evidence against law firm Lewis Nathan Advocates who are the transfer secretaries for the said shares.

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