Former Citizenship by Investment Unit CEO, Chisanga Puta-Chekwe, has said that there is little room for persons to steal money, because of the tough measures taken by the unit.
“I don’t think I was asleep at the wheel and missed that,” said Chekwe “I think the likelihood is that it never happened, certainly not under my watch.”
Earlier this year, Public Relations Officer of the United Progressive Party, Damani Tabor, was sued by the Prime Minister for defamation over his allegations that $500 000 had gone missing from the CIU.
After Chekwe disclosed to OBSERVER media that he had not heard of any money disappearing under his tenure, he outlined the manner in which the invested monies are handled. He insisted that the stringent CIU accounting left little loophole for government fraud.
Chekwe said that once the unit receives money for the National Development Fund, which is the largest investment option, “The money goes straight into the treasury to the Accountant General.”
He added that money for real estate “goes into an escrow account, and is released as certain milestones are reached.” Meanwhile, most of the money for business investment goes into the capitalization of businesses and would come in as investment money.
Chekwe said that for all other areas of investment, the money is used for the operating costs of the CIU, which investors pay in the form of processing fees.
“The bulk of that money ends up with the government,” said Chekwe. He also added that the CIU runs on a very small amount of money, and even the money that is designated by law to take care of the CIU’S operations, does not stay with the CIU.
“The money [from investments] is coming from abroad. It’s going through the banking system, and is quite easy to track,” concluded Chekwe.