Evidence gathered by MakanDay suggests an obscure group - Destiny Helpers International (DHI), posing as a Christian organisation whose accounts were frozen by the Drug Enforcement Commission for defrauding Zambians had links to the former ruling Patriotic Front party.
In September 2020, the Commission froze five bank accounts for DHI and demanded for close to K2 million cash and other company properties to be forfeited to the state because they are tainted assets. The matter in court is ongoing.
In 2017, DHI emerged on the Zambian scene as a Christian group that was going to change the fortunes of suffering Zambians with grants worth more than 100% of membership subscriptions. More than 74,000 Zambians who joined the savings group are at a loss as to when their money will be redeemed.
According to an insider who was recruited to help grow the organisation, DHI used a Christian tag to lure Zambians to join the savings group, whose majority coordinators are Church pastors.
“At first, the money that the members paid was deposited into the bank accounts, but in December 2020, mobile money accounts were also opened,” he said.
He told MakanDay that the founder of DHI, Sydney Muyamba’s whereabouts remain secret since it became apparent that he was operating a scamming organisation.
Those who know him say, he had close links to the PF and even benefited from some government contracts when the party was in power.
It is understood Mr Muyamba was a close associate of late President Michael Sata and was handed a contract to build Mongu Stadium in Western Province, just before his death.
Further evidence of his links to the PF is in how DHI was using images of former President Edgar Lungu in some of the visibility materials for the organisation. For example, one of the posters seen by MakanDay which carries Mr Lungu’s picture, the DHI advertises itself as “... the change you want”.
But PF Acting Secretary General Nickson Chilangwa said his party does not know Mr Muyamba.
Mr Muyamba has not responded to MakanDay’s request for comment when he was contacted by WhatsApp on his Zambian phone number which is blocked for voice calls.
What we have established
According to the Patents and Companies Registration Agency records, Destiny Helpers Limited, not Destiny Helpers International was registered on 05 May 2017 and its directors are Zambians -Lillian Namiye Munalula and Sydney Mwiiya Muyamba. Mr Muyamba is also registered as shareholder together with Roy Haapole Kanthengwe.
It is not clear how DHI was operating as a non-bank financial institution when it is a requirement for such organisations to be registered with the Bank of Zambia.
According to the Bank, to operate a non-bank financial institution in Zambia, it is a requirement to be registered with the Bank of Zambia.
But the DHI had operations in almost all the districts of Zambia.
Double misfortune for subscribers
In April 2022, MakanDay published an investigation revealing how fraudsters are now using DHI to steal from desperate Zambians who want to access their savings held in frozen bank accounts.
But the government has not acted and more Zambians have continued losing money through contributions demanded by the so-called anti DHI representatives.
But now, MakanDay can reveal that the scope of the thieving going on, using DHI is much greater than previously reported.
MakanDay has accessed two WhatsApp groups used by the scammers were they are sharing messages demanding for money contributions.
They are persuading members to contribute, claiming the money is required for transport to Lusaka to deliver evidence to the DEC and the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) before the court hearing set for end of May.
A source close to DHI operations revealed that Michael Mwewa, one of the people receiving money through mobile accounts worked under Mr Muyamba.
The source added: “One of the employees of DHI is now part of the people receiving money under the Anti-DHI, a group that appears to be helping the scammed members while enriching their pockets.”
But Mr Mwewa has said he has not been collecting money from anyone when he was contacted for comment.
Mr Mwewa has since launched a campaign in the WhatsApp group to try and discredit MakanDay.
The DEC head of Anti-Money Laundering Department, Kwaleyela Mukelabai told MakanDay that the Commission has not requested for fresh evidence from anyone.
“When the matter is taken to court, interested parties are supposed to be heard and the court makes the determination,” he said. “There are no discussions in between or submitting of names or whatever.”
He added: “Those are just scammers attempting to steal money from the members.”
The DEC spokesperson Mathias Kamanga also confirmed that NPA has set 30 May 2022 as the date for court hearing.
“All the evidence that was required was (already)gathered, so right now, we are not investigating this case for any fresh evidence,” he said.