Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism Henry Mussa, who is also treasurer general of the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has said claims by former minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda that MK95 million seized from his residence belonged to DPP could be true as the party operates a decentralized policy.
Mussa was standing to testify at Zomba Magistrate Court on Tuesday as a 10th State witness in the case in which Chaponda is answering three charges out of the four which include giving false information to Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB), influencing a public officer to misuse his position and possession of foreign currency.
He told Zomba chief resident magistrate Paul Chiotchae that he is the custodian of the party’s properties, assets, finances and resources at a central level as national treasure general but all regions of the party has its bank accounts and vice president of the party for that region is the one who is in charge of that bank account and finances.
Asked by the state lead prosecutor MacMillan Chakhala to have a say on Chaponda’s claim that money which the ACB investigators found at his home was for DPP, Mussa’s said the former minister could be right.
“In DPP we run a decentralized policy in party finances. There are provisions that Dr Chaponda as party Vice President for the South is an overall administrator of the party finances at that level,” he said.
He added that, each region has a separate bank account.
Mussa said: “DPP is decentralized party and we use decentralization policy where by all regions that the party recognizes has its vice presidents in this case Dr Chaponda in South, Hon Bright Msaka in Eastern region, Dr Ntaba in centre and Dr Goodall Gondwe in the North and Dr Chaponda and the other vice presidents are the overall in charge of all party activities and administration in the region and each region has its own bank account and the vice president is in charge of its bank account and finances”.
Quized further as to how the party handle fundraising activities and transfer of the funds to the accounts, Mussa said it varies.
“The party’s ways of managing our affairs is decentralized, so each region has its own fundraising activities. On how money can be deposited at the bank, it depends with how the activity was done.
There are some done during the night while others in the day, and it depends whether during the weekend but in the circumstances that the time is not ideal for depositing money, then it should be kept safe, in this case by the Vice President,” said Mussa who said knew Chaponda since 1963 and have grown up together.
He then said the money being referred by the State had nothing to do with the central arm of the party but for the Southern Region.
“I state earlier on that the party manage its affairs in decentralization policy these must have been the money for regional level not at central level. I don’t know whether the money was for the party or not since I don’t have the powers to manage the regional finances which are chaired by regional vice president in this case Dr Chaponda”, he said.
Hearing of the case will continue in Zomba.