Lusambo earned slightly above K3.8 million during ministerial period – Witness

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THE Economic and Financial Crimes Court has heard that Bowman Lusambo’s earnings between the period 2016 and 2021 were slightly above K3.8 million.

It was also established that three out of his four companies were not tax compliant.

This is in a matter where Lusambo is facing two counts of possessing property suspected to be proceeds of crime.

It is alleged in count one and two that Lusambo between May 1, 2015, and December 31, 2021 possessed property number F/609/E/44/B/9, where his fancy Chamba valley house is erected and an incomplete block of six (6) flats, constructed on property number F/609/E/50 in Chamba Valley Lusaka, which are suspected to be products of grand corruption.

Morgan Mwanza who handles ministers’ payroll and emoluments narrated that in January 2022 the Ministry of Finance received a warrant of access from officers of the Anti- Corruption Commission inquiring about Lusambo’s personal emoluments when he served as minister .

He said the warrant was restricted to personal emoluments and not other allowances he received when he served as provincial minister.

“I logged into the Payment Management and Establishment Control (PEMC) system. The payments from September 2016 to May 2021 were available on the system. I compiled a summary of the payslips and earnings that I identified and submitted to the internal audit department for verification,” said Mwanza.

“When the report was audited it was submitted to the Anti- Corruption Commission. The payments were; net salary K2, 546, 359.64 , travel benefits K109, 069.71, Household loan K1, 020 000, settling in allowance K170, 931.19. The total received is slightly over K3.8 million.”

During cross examination by Lusambo’s lawyer Nkhula Botha, Mwanza confirmed that some of the travel allowances were not counted.

He said he doesn’t knowhow much Lusambo earned as allowances when he served as Copperbelt minister.

Lawrence Mukoye an accountant at Lusaka Provincial Administration said according to records on the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) Lusambo was paid K115,645.95.

And James Mwansa a Tax Inspector at the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) under Direct Taxes Division Returns and Payments Unit said records at the Revenue Authority show that Lusambo’s companies were not tax compliant except one.

He said according to the tax payer compliance status reports prepared by the taxing authority as requested by the ACC for Lusambo’s companies Mpongwe General Dealers Limited, Nuclear Sounds and General Dealers, Chichele FM Limited and Chichele Investments Limited, Lusambo never filed tax returns.

Mwansa said Mpongwe General Dealers was not registered for any tax type and as a result, the tax payer is not compliant with tax registration.

“Nuclear Sounds and General Dealers, the tax payer name is Bowman Lusambo and it’s trading name is Nuclear Sounds and General Dealers. He is a sole trader. The tax payer registered for income tax on March 31, 2006 and the records on the Tax Online system indicated that the taxpayer never filed any return and never made any payment,” he said.

Mwansa indicated that the taxpayer is no longer trading as Nuclear Sounds and General Dealers but only as a TPIN meaning Lusambo is no longer a sole trader.

He said Chichele FM Limited was not registered for any taxes and as a result it is not tax compliant regards to tax registration as the law requires that any person carrying on business activities or intending to trade is supposed to register for taxes.

“For Chichele Investments limited the tax payer registered for turn over tax only on September 30, 2020 and the taxpayer has filed all the returns. The taxpayers never made any payment to this account as all returns filed were nil returns. The taxpayer is tax compliant as he has no outstanding payments,” said Mwansa.

“A nil return means there was no business during that period. It epends with the source of income. If the income he is receiving is from business, then he is trading so he has to pay taxes.”

In cross examination the witness confirmed that a company can be registered with the Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA) and be put on shelf.

He confirmed that Shelf companies are registered companies that have never traded nor have assets and liabilities.

Asked if a company being entity and a person at law ought to be differentiated and separated from Lusambo, Mwansa responded in the affirmative.

Asked if Lusaka was supposed to pay tax for the donations he received, the tax inspector denied.

Mwansa said he did not report Lusambo for defaulting on tax payment.

He further confirmed that the charges before Court did not border on tax crimes allegedly committed by Lusambo’s companies but on the acquisition of his house and an unfinished construction project.

Mwansa said that she does not know what Lusambo paid in taxes when he served as minister as the focus was on his companies.

The Court is today expected to conduct a site visit at Lusambo’s home.

By Mwaka Ndawa

Kalemba January 31, 2024.

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