Politics

George Chellah: Zambia’s Multi-Millionaire Press Secretary

In just a few short years, State House spokesman George Chellah has gone from serving as a humble mid-level reporter at the Post Newspaper to become a multi-millionaire bureaucrat, raising widespread suspicion of the corrupt origins of his wealth.

When Chellah was first appointed by President Michael Sata to serve as his Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations, he was one of a slew of new employees that were poached from the Post, helping to form a near-seamless unification between the Patriotic Front (PF) government and the country’s main newspaper. Now sources estimate that Chellah’s net worth has exceeded more than $10 million held in foreign bank accounts.

Many of Chellah’s colleagues are wondering how this public servant on a base salary of about K20,000 a month has been able to afford his life of luxury, including the purchases of prime properties in Lusaka, Johannesburg, and London, while flashing significant cash around town and almost daily meals at expensive restaurants such as Portico on the Showgrounds.

According to a well placed source in the Office of the President (OP) Special Division (intelligence wings), Chellah has amassed his fortune by abusing his powers of office, making side deals to facilitate meetings for Chinese road contractors, setting up corrupt fertiliser supply deals with the Food Reserve Agency (FRA), while also selling state secrets to his former employer Post Editor Fred M’membe and his patron Rajan Mahtani.

The source points to Chellah’s all-cash purchase of his Ibex Hill mansion 10 months after assuming his position for a price of 900,000 kwacha (900 million unrebased), representing more than 50 times his monthly salary. The Intelligence Wings have also found that Chellah purchased a premium flat in London, a property in Sandton City, Johannesburg, and an additional four homes around the Lusaka area, the source says. Chellah has also purchased with cash a new BMW X5, a Land Cruiser, and a Mercedes Benz, as well as a fleet of 10 trucks leased to road contractors, which he owns in addition to the government vehicles provided for his use.

“Chellah has been overheard boasting to his friends that he is at the level of HH and GBM, but he has played it very smart,” the OP source said. “All the homes and cars are purchased under the names of his wife, his son George Jr., and a few of his mistresses – this is why he was so reluctant to divorce. You will never find more than 60,000 kwacha in his Zambian bank accounts, but he has pocketed billions of kwacha from Chinese Road contractors which is funneled into two foreign accounts in South Africa and the DRC – each containing approximately US$5 million.”

The source says that according to an investigation by the intelligence wings, Chellah has received regular large transfers of millions of kwacha to these foreign bank accounts from the consultancy Zulu Burrow, which has been awarded numerous single-source contracts by the Roads Development Agency (RDA) under control of State House. The contracts are then alleged to be sold by Zulu Burrow to the Chinese contractors. Zulu Burrow has also been named among the leaked bank accounts belonging to the president’s son, Mwango Sata.

Chellah has also been a paid informant of Finance Bank Chairman Rajan Mahtani, the source says, helping him to run “Zambian Intelligence News” – a website known for its aggressive defence of the cartel and attacks on many prominent Bembas in the ruling party, including Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda and former Minister of Defence Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba (GBM).

The OP Special Division is also in possession of a dossier of private emails between Chellah, Mahtani, and Kabimba, among others, which purport to discuss the dealings of an allegedly corrupt contract given to a company owned by M’membe to provide fertiliser to the FRA.

In recent weeks, Chellah has come under pressure while his alliance with the cartel has frayed. His home was raided by OP recently in search of evidence of leaked confidential government documents to the media. The documents related to the matter of the refunds of value-added tax by Finance Minister Chikwanda, which were leaked to the Post Newspaper in an attempt to promote Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba’s position as a successor. Instead, the alleged leak by Chellah resulted in Kabimba’s firing.

But although there were rumours of a suspension, for the time being President Sata has decided to keep Chellah in his current position.

Chellah most recently accompanied President Sata on his campaign tour of Mkushi yesterday.

27 Comments

  1. concerned citizen

    This government of thieves ! If Chellah can amass so much corrupt loot I wonder how much Sata himself has amassed ?

  2. kabu kabu

    Another lie. You dont even have the shame to apologise for lying that chellah had been suspended or fired. There are many lies you have told such as the one that Kabimba was overhead pleading with the president. You should be ashamed of this yellow journalism you fools. George is not like Dickson Jere who together with his boss (Lupiya) became the most corrupt cartel. You were saying sata had throat cancer but now that you heard him speak you have to create another lie to shift attention from the other lies. You said Chellah was suspended wat has happened to the lie coz we saw him with sata. You know lies have short legs to stand on

    • michael

      @kabukabu Dear sir, I regularly read this website, and I never recall ever reading any report that Chellah had been fired nor suspended. I believe you are thinking of Zambian Watchdog.

  3. Really?

    You have to realize that all M’membe and all his minions were given a cash windfall for the role they played in bringing down the MMD. Chellah may be a bit flashy, but the rest of the crew have banked their money quietly.

  4. Bembazo

    Bravo!!! Its about time someone exposed this crook Chellah! He is a snake and a hypocrite of the worst kind.

    All the denials can’t explain where he got a million kwacha in cash to buy that mansion, full stop! The man is corrupt!

  5. Philip Banda

    Leave dis man alone – its his turn to eat!

    • Mulenga

      The above idiotic comment is why Zambia is poor and never gets better.

  6. Clickaway

    @kabu kaku, you are a liar, damn liar. His Excellency Rupiah Banda and Jere did not involve in any wrong doing. His children who have been in Facilitation and Lobbying business since time immemorial facilitated introduction of investors to Zambian laws, requirements for business and do all the ground work. If any of your Cartel members are honest enough and you personally have worked in the USA, you will know what President Sata talked about Washington Lobby. His rhetoric before elections was great. But lobbying has its importance to foreigners and businessmen alike and its value is recognised worldwide. Obama realised this once in he stepped in the White House. Lobbying continues in the USA. PF inherited it and doing it at much bigger scale and with internal involvement and camouflaging through local participation of road and supply contracts. Those are nothing but corruption, padding of contract by local component of contracts that end up with Family Forest and PF Cadres. Wait for next President in Plot 1 and you will sing a different song.

    • Kaimana Kalweni

      What next president in plot one are you talking about? Oh my foot there is no opposition leader capable or popular enough to unseat PF. Its only narrow-minded idiots like you who believe is such hallucinations, the only fortunate part is that you are in the minority. And dont even let the shit of the coming by-elections coz whether UPND win in Solwezi and Zambezi or not it makes no difference unless one could extend their popularity to areas where they arenot popular. Same applies to MMD whether they win in the two Eastern seats makes no difference. Infact should UPND win seats there in noth western it will just confirm them being a regional party, which is only popular in Southern, western and north western province. Just look at how PF wins have been extended beyond regions plus having their own strongholds intact. These are the seats PF has grabbed from the opposition since 2011: Mufumbwe (nothweastern), mangango (western), chongwe, feira (Lusaka rural), msanzala, chama south (eastern), mpongwe (copperbelt rural), Livingstone (Southern), Kapiri Mposhi, mkushi-north (central), retained mansa-central (luapula). Now where is the hope for the opposition when PF has been able to extend their popularity plus having their strongholds intact. For we the reasonable ones 2016 will be an easy victory for PF

  7. innocent mphande

    Let’s wait 2016 is coming

  8. George Muma Mwamba

    Mr Reporter if you know what this man has done why don’t you report him to the relevant authorities. Are you compromised yourself? Or are you practising yellow journalism? Be a man. Come out. Don’t get holed up there. It’s your moral right and obligation to assist to correct alleged crime. You are too fictional as if you are writing for a movie! Journalism is about reporting factually and objectively not fiction.
    Offer the readers a solution that can remedy the defect.
    Illusion is bad for journalism.
    You risk losing credibility. That is a very sensitive profession in view that everyone can now use the Internet objectively or maliciously. People will still read both sides of the coin!!!

    • BV rain

      George, what are “the relevant authorities” going to do about it? Congratulate him on making so much illegal loot for posting comments on Facebook?

      The allegation is there for the ACC to see. If they do not investigate it is because they HAVE FAILED TO DO THEIR JOB!

      It is not up to readers to offer solutions. That is the job of the CURRENT ADMINISTRATION, this PF Government, and as Sata has said, IT IS USELESS.

      Allergic to CORRUPTION my ass!

  9. RAPHAEL MULENGA

    you kabwalalas you’re even support your friends KABU KABA

  10. RAPHAEL MULENGA

    IT IS YOU KABU KABU STOP NO SENS, NAKA BWALALA MUNOBE G.CHELLA

  11. GRAND

    Ther author does not understand most of the things he has talked about, eg FRA does not supply fertilizer in Zambia, …..

  12. Kaimana Kalweni

    Hahahahaha you can only laugh at wat goes on on social media. Anyway even a fool has an opinion. What next president in plot one are you talking about? Oh my foot there is no opposition leader capable or popular enough to unseat PF. Its only narrow-minded idiots like you who believe is such hallucinations, the only fortunate part is that you are in the minority. And dont even let the shit of the coming by-elections coz whether UPND win in Solwezi and Zambezi or not it makes no difference unless one could extend their popularity to areas where they arenot popular. Same applies to MMD whether they win in the two Eastern seats makes no difference. Infact should UPND win seats there in noth western it will just confirm them being a regional party, which is only popular in Southern, western and north western province. Just look at how PF wins have been extended beyond regions plus having their own strongholds intact. These are the seats PF has grabbed from the opposition since 2011: Mufumbwe (nothweastern), mangango (western), chongwe, feira (Lusaka rural), msanzala, chama south (eastern), mpongwe (copperbelt rural), Livingstone (Southern), Kapiri Mposhi, mkushi-north (central), retained mansa-central (luapula). Now where is the hope for the opposition when PF has been able to extend their popularity plus having their strongholds intact. For we the reasonable ones 2016 will be an easy victory for PF

  13. Agony is...

    …agony is reading about very worrying claims of corruption and then listening to stupid Zambians complain about the media instead of the corruption.

  14. Lookout tree

    And PF President is in hallucinations. He is paying for his sins. All those supporting thieves of PF are an insult to Zambians. PF is one term party and once Sata dies, new president takes over, all Thugs will be locked up.

  15. Musholwa

    Kaimwana Kalweni is a son of bitch as his master,

  16. Blago

    Its really sad to read such stuff. So unfortunate! That is why for people in the diaspora, its so scary to think going back to settle in Zambia. Zambia is so marinated in corruption, tribalism and institutionalized theft. Its really a pity!

  17. the patriot

    I wonder why if the intelligence wings have so much information why they don’t apprehend these people,freeze their accounts and the money put in government coffers.it all looks like a lie if you claim you have so much data yet its not helping

  18. John Mukelebai

    In my close and thorough political analysis of this country over the last 50 years, I can safely say PF are the WORST government. Period!

  19. ngana

    Chellah was fired but the OP advised the President to keep him in order to create mistrust of the information provided by the Zambian Watchdog and Zambia reports. Keeping Chellah was OP Decision

  20. Kaimana Kalweni

    @Ngana mwana wa imbwa iwe. Why do you have such narrow-minds that you cant even see that this whole story is a lie. Intelligent people will tell you that there are a lot of factual inconsistencies in this story and the many other lies peddled on such hateful sites like Zambiareports and Watchdog. I think the owners of this site, Chamba Chimbwii, D Jere and Lupiya Banda, have not come to their senses following their humiliation in the 2011 elections. for Lupiya we know it is very embarrassing to have created history by being the shortest serving president, or Jere’s honeymoon in the oval offices being terminated in a very unceremonial manner, but I expect decency to prevail.

  21. Donqueen

    Hypocrites!!Free Barotseland and leave the fools to eat each other.
    Kinako!

  22. Sugar Coated

    $10 million and I stopped reading.. Nshibelenga ifyabupuba those re lies kabiyei uko

  23. okocha ikede

    it really hates me when the people who sound learned fail to use there heads to think and cant differentiate between black and white…….Shame Mr Kalweni ‘n Mr Kabu Kabu.

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