The Economic and Financial Crimes Court in Ndola has sentenced former Postmaster general, MacPherson Chanda and two others to two years simple imprisonment after being found guilty of corrupt practices involving over K300,000,000.
Meanwhile, the Court has ordered the Attorney General to recover the K335 million social cash transfer funds ( SCT) which Chanda and two others unlawfully diverted.
ZANIS reports that this is in a case where Chanda, Best Mwaichi and Isaac Kamwimba were charged with corrupt practices involving over K300 million.
The trio, in their capacities as postmaster general, Director of finance and Director of operations, respectively, allegedly diverted social cash transfer funds amounting to K335, 108, 834. 00 without lawful authority.
When the case came before the Economic and Financial Crimes Court in Ndola, Magistrate Kaunda Sakwanda found that it was undisputable that the said funds were placed in a fixed deposit account without the permission from the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services.
“It was the accused who moved the money to the fixed deposit account without the authorisation from the ministry and many people testified relating to the same. The intention was to deprive the owner” she said.
Magistrate Sakwanda said there was intention by the trio to deprive the Ministry of Community and Social Services permanently of its money.
“I am satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt that the prosecution have proved elements of theft against the accused beyond reasonable doubt,” she said.
In mitigation, lawyers representing the trio asked the court to exercise maximum leniency as they are family men and have suffered from the none employment status.
In sentencing the trio, Magistrate Sakwanda said she heard the mitigation, however what the trio did was against the laws of Zambia.
“I therefore sentence you to two years simple imprisonment effective today. I further order the statutory judgment in favour of the Attorney General in the sum of K335,000,000.
During his defence Chanda denied stealing the funds.
He maintained that according to the contract signed between ZamPost and the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services, the Ministry’s first responsibility was to avail payment schedules of beneficiaries to ZamPost.
Chanda said this was to be done in a timely manner and that ZamPost’s obligation was to pay the beneficiaries within 72 hours in line with the payment schedules or Instructions.
He said the payment schedules which were the only instructions on which basis ZamPost could pay were delayed and sent to ZamPost by the Ministry several weeks after funds were sent funds.