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Former Postmaster asks court to quash jail sentence


FORMER Postmaster General Macpherson Chanda and two others have pleaded with the Economic and Financial Crimes Division-High Court, to set aside the two years jail sentence passed by the lower court, contending that there was no evidence adduced to prove that they fraudulently benefited from the Social Cash Transfer funds.

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In July last year, Mr Chanda was jailed together with two former ZamPost directors, Mr Best Mwaichi and Mr Isaac Kamwimba, by the Ndola subordinate court under the Financial and Economic Crimes Division on 13 counts of theft by public servant involving over K300 million.

Ndola Magistrate, Kaunda Sakwanda ordered the Attorney-General to recover, on behalf of the State, the K335 million Social Cash Transfer funds, which the three unlawfully diverted.

The three challenged the conviction and sentencing in the superior court raising seven grounds of appeal.

At the hearing of the appeal held yesterday before Judges Ann Malata-Ononuju, Pixie Yangailo and Vincent Siloka, the appellants’ lawyers argued that there was no relationship between the 13 counts levelled against the trio and the evidence produced by the prosecution (State).

They argued that the State failed to prove how the ex Post Master General and the other two benefitted from the accrued interest from the principal amount which was deposited in the said fixed account.

It was further contended the record showed that there was no amount of money that had left the coffers of ZamPost into the pockets of the appellants. 

Counsel Jonas Zimba contended that their clients were subjected to an unfair procedure making the proceedings a nullity.

“I wish to stress the point that there is no witness on record that established any fraudulent conduct on the part of the appellants now before you. In the absence of such an element, it is my submission that failing to prove the key element of an offence should not result in a conviction.  Sitting at the centre of the offences the appellants were charged with was an element of fraudulent conduct and that element was never proved,” he submitted.

Counsel Lawrence Matibini earlier also argued there was in fact tampering of witness by the State which undermined the integrity of the trial, but surprisingly the lower court was passive about it.

He explained that a witness, legal counsel Mulao Mwaba, who was subpoenaed to testify in the case by the lower court was interviewed by Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) officer before he did so.

But deputy chief state advocate Ms Chipanta Mwansa submitted that the superior court tampers with the sentence upwards as the 24 months simple imprisonment was inadequate.

“The appellants sat in that meeting and decided to open another fixed deposit account where the Social Cash Transfer funds could go and earn interest before disbursement. It showed the intention to deprive the beneficiaries of that fund as they made profit out of that which was not in the interest of the public,” she said.

She argued that the indictment gave sufficient reasons as to the nature of the charge and the three took plea with legal representation and were convicted, therefore it was too late in the day to challenge it.

The court reserved judgement in the matter to November 1, 2023.



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