Zambia’s law enforcement agencies have unearthed Zambian kwacha 2.1 billion (approximately $412,000) in cash buried underground at the farm of a minister in the immediate past government, the country’s police chief confirmed Friday.
Inspector-General of Police Martin Malama said officers from Zambia Police, the Anti Corruption Commission, ACC, and the Drug Enforcement Commission, DEC, jointly conducted a raid on the farm of former Labour Minister Austin Liato – about 45 kilometers west of the capital Lusaka – where they found the money and vehicles.
“We are doing this not for retribution or harassment; we are doing this for the development of the nation and the future of our children,” Dr Malama said.
Police spokesperson Elizabeth Kanjela said the money was hidden in safes in two steel trunks buried underground, covered with a slab and protected with security alarms.
She said police officers broke the concrete slabs in a two-hour operation and found the money.
“We are going to investigate to know the source of this money. The way of storage of this money is illegal,” said Ms Kanjela, adding that Mr Liato would be interrogated soon.
President Michael Sata, in a media statement, said he had learnt with “great shock the discovery of such huge sums of money concealed in a strange and most unusual manner” at the former minister’s farm.
The “Mafia-style” under which this money was hidden raises serious questions about how the same was acquired, he said.
“It breaks my heart to see how someone could go to such extremes to conceal money if it was legitimately acquired,” President Sata added.