THE MMD youth in Lusaka have demanded that Chilanga member of Parliament (MP) Ng’andu Magande be suspended from the party pending investigations into his involvement in the Zambian Airways saga.
In a letter from acting Lusaka Province youth chairperson, Benton Chewe, to Mr Magande copied to national secretary, Katele Kalumba, the youth charged that Zambian Airways neglected to meet its obligations because of Mr Magande’s actions.
Mr Chewe said a letter Mr Magande wrote to Communications and Transport Minister, Dora Siliya, urging her to defer Zambian Airways’ obligations to pay National Airports Corporation (NAC) could prove his persuasion and pleading.
“As minister of Finance and National Planning, your duties did not include activities that promote tax evasion, fraud and theft. As a matter of fact, there is a probe by investigative wings regarding Zambian Airways and the alleged role you played,” he said.
Mr Chewe said it remained a fact that through his actions, he had caused the loss of huge amounts of money that were due to the Government which was now engaged in an expensive process to recover the money.
He said Mr Magande was aware that Zambian Airways owed public bodies, which were under his ministry, a total of US$12 million through NAC, Zambia Revenue Authority and the Development Bank of Zambia.
He demanded that Mr Magande should explain to the relevant authorities how such a debt was accumulated and the $18 million owed to banks and other institutions because it was still public money.
“We understand that these loans were obtained under dubious circumstances as Zambian Airways had little or no security to obtain such huge funds. We understand that Zambian Airways has consistently recorded losses and yet banks continued to provide it with loans,” he said.
He said investigations should be instituted against Mr Magande, adding that he should not refer to late president Levy Mwanawasa.
Mr Chewe said he did not know the mandate Mr Magande was using to execute the responsibility assigned to him because that would not include criminal activities.
He said it was shameful that the former Finance and National Planning minister wanted to hide under the cover of the late president.
Mr Chewe said the youth wanted Mr Magande to be suspended or expelled from the party because he had formed alliances with those fighting the Government of President Banda.
Mr Magande had written a letter to Mr Chewe asking him to apologise for the allegations he made last week, but in his response the latter said he stood by his statement, saying Mr Magande’s threats were designed to silence the resolve and public support to recover the money.
“Your letter is also designed to prevent growing public calls that are demanding immediate recovery of the money from Zambian Airways,” he said.
He said the MMD youth in Lusaka would stand by President Banda and his quest to bring discipline and sanity to the party, and whoever was distracting him should be disciplined.
Mr Chewe said he had copied his letter to national secretary, Katele Kalumba, as an official complaint so that it could be used as evidence for any party disciplinary action.
He said as youths, they had stated the truth and their statement did not contain malice, and advised Mr Magande to cooperate with law enforcement agencies investigating the Zambian Airways issue.