Saturday, May 29, 2010

Appeal against Chiluba’s acquittal must be permitted - Kabanda

Appeal against Chiluba’s acquittal must be permitted - Kabanda
By George Chellah
Sat 29 May 2010, 04:01 CAT

CITIZENS Forum executive director Simon Kabanda yesterday said the conviction of Frederick Chiluba’s servants justifies the demands for the appeal against his acquittal.

Commenting on the sentencing of former finance minister and MMD national secretary Katele Kalumba and three others to five years imprisonment for corruption, Kabanda welcomed the conviction.

“The conviction of Chiluba’s servants, I would like to call them servants because that’s what they are. So their conviction actually leaves a lot of unanswered questions about Chiluba’s acquittal. How do you convict the servants alone when the boss was stealing with the servants?” Kabanda asked.

“You acquit the boss to say there was no wrongdoing but you convict the servants. That itself leaves a lot of questions and as a people we are intelligent enough to see that something is wrong. What we are seeing now are double standards because the cases Katele has been accused of, they are the same cases Chiluba was accused.”

He said the appeal against former president Chiluba’s acquittal must be permitted.

“Those convictions justify our demands that Chiluba’s appeal must go ahead. We are repeating our demands that the appeal against Chiluba’s acquittal should be taken to the High Court,” said Kabanda.

“And these convictions have sent a message to Chiluba that what the people have been saying that he was guilty is true. He should be very, very worried by now because these are not good signs for him.”

This week, Lusaka High Court Deputy Director of Operations Edward Musona sentenced MMD national secretary Katele Kalumba and three others to five years imprisonment for corruption.

Musona, sitting as a magistrate, handed Kalumba a five-year sentence with hard labour after being found guilty on one count of corrupt practices by a public officer.

He sentenced former finance permanent secretary Stella Chibanda to five years simple imprisonment on five out of the nine corruption charges while Access Financial Services Limited (AFSL) directors Aaron Chungu and Faustin Kabwe were also jailed for five years each with hard labour.

Magistrate Musona also sentenced former Ministry of Finance chief economist Bede Mpande, former finance ministry director of budget Boniface Nonde and former secretary to the treasury Professor Benjamin Mweene to five years imprisonment with hard labour but suspended for 24 months.

This is in a case in which Kalumba, a former finance minister, Chibanda, Mpande, Nonde, Prof Mweene, Chungu and Kabwe were facing 23 charges on payments made to US security companies Wilbain Incorporated and Systems Innovation totalling US $20 million.

The offences were contrary to section 29 (1) of the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) Act number 42 of 1996 in respect of the former public officers and section 29 (2) of the same Act in respect of the former AFSL directors.

Kalumba faced three counts, Chibanda faced nine, Mpande faced two while Nonde was charged on three counts.

Prof Mweene faced one count, Chungu faced two while Kabwe faced three charges.
The prosecution called a total of 34 witnesses.

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