Zambia’s Foreign Minister has taken his exit from the cabinet after he was allegedly caught on video receiving a stack of cash from a Chinese businessman.
Stanley Kakubo who claims he was facing “malicious claims over a business transaction” did not deny he was the one in the now viral video.
Kakubo instead said he was resigning so that the government was not “distracted” by the controversy.
The video shows two men sitting by a table counting the neatly stacked cash, both US dollars and Zambian kwacha.
Their faces are not visible, but it led to widespread speculation on social media that the men were Mr Kakubo and a Chinese businessman.
Zambians are wondering why a bank transfer had not been made for the so called transaction and whether taxes had been paid for it.
Unverified images of signed handwritten notes also surfaced on social media.
One said that $100,000 had been “exchanged” between a Zambian and a Chinese mining company. Another, dated 8 July, 2022, mentioned a total sum of $200,000.
In his resignation letter, Mr. Kakubo did not dispute the authenticity of the video or the handwritten notes.
Instead, he said he was the victim of “malicious claims over a business transaction between my private family business and our business partner with whom we still have good relations”.
He said he had resigned as a minister to ensure that the government was not “distracted” from its efforts to improve the lives of Zambians, but he would remain an MP.
“In due course, we will provide the accurate context surrounding the recent developments,” the Lusaka Times news site quoted Mr Kakubo as saying.
President Hakainde Hichilema accepted his resignation, saying he acknowledged Mr Kakubo’s “commendable work and leadership”.
This is the second time that Mr. Kakubo has found himself at the centre of controversy.
Last year, he was accused of receiving a bribe after he was spotted leaving the office of a Chinese-owned cement company with a briefcase.
He denied any wrongdoing, while the president defended him, saying he had received a calendar and a diary.