At approximately 0200 hours this morning, about 15 security agents from the Office of the President (OP) Special Branch conducted a raid on the home of Wynter Kabimba, the recently ousted former Justice Minister and Secretary General of the ruling Patriotic Front party.
The raid of Kabimba’s home comes just one day after his surprise firing, an event which has shaken the nation and prompted a realignment among the party’s leadership.
According to a source close to the OP, the intelligence wings were conducting the search of Kabimba’s private residence on instructions from the Commander in Chief President Michael Sata, looking for any compromising materials or documents.
Although the official statement announcing Kabimba’s dismissal offered no detailed explanation, it is widely believed that he was involved along with other members of the so-called cartel in leaking a confidential government letter concerning the refund of some $600 million in value-added tax to mining companies by the Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda, who recently became the most favoured successor to take over from President Sata.
According to the source, when the officers arrived at Kabimba’s home they immediately knocked and his wife opened the door. The officers politely introduced themselves and then went ahead with the operations, heading directly upstairs to search Kabimba’s home office.
The raid of the former Justice Minister’s home allegedly resulted in the recovery of several top secret State House documents, including those labeled “For the President’s Eyes Only” and “Confidential” in blue folder files, the source says.
The officers later opened his Dell Computer and copied the contents of its hard drive, as well as making a copy of all the data on an Apple iMac for later examination, the source says.
Although Mr. Kabimba was not on the premises when the search began, the witness says that everyone present – including his wife, his daughter, his nephews and other relatives from his village – were shocked to be the subject of a search by the intelligence wings.
Thirty minutes after receiving a text message from his wife, Kabimba arrived in a Black GRZ Toyota Land Crusier V8 registration 68422 B accompanied by another Blue GRZ Toyota Land Crusier carrying Post editor Fred M’membe and an unidentified woman, the source says.
The former Justice Minister was very angry to discover the search in progress, and began shouting at the agents for disturbing his home at such a late hour, the source says. Kabimba then telephoned Director of Public Prosecutions Mutembo Nchito to halt the raid, but Nchito said he was powerless to do anything, the source said, while Fred M’membe maintained his silence and watched the events unfold.
Before departing, the OP officers then confiscated the government vehicles the two men had arrived in, as well as repossessing a government owned Toyota Prado that was also on the property at the time.