Zambian opposition leader gets two year jail term

Zambian opposition National Democratic Congress-NDC- leader Chishimba Kambwili has been sentenced to two years imprisonment with hard labour for forgery and uttering a false document.

This is in a case where Kambwili was charged with three counts of forgery, uttering a false document, and giving false information to a public officer. The opposition leader has however been acquitted of the charge of giving false information to a public officer.

Lusaka Principal Resident Magistrate David Simusamba sentenced Kambwili to 12 months in the count of forgery and another 12 months for uttering a false document saying the sentences will run concurrently meaning Kambwili will only serve a year in prison.

It is alleged that in October 2013, with intent to defraud or deceive, Kambwili allegedly forged a ‘no change return’ (companies form 71) purporting to show that it was genuinely signed by his son Mwamba Kambwili when it was not.

In count two, it is alleged that Kambwili on the same day forged the no change return form, he knowingly and fraudulently uttered it to an officer at Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA). And in the third count, he is accused of giving false information to a public officer.

Magistrate Simusamba in his judgment said the prosecution proved its case beyond reasonable doubt as regards count one and two of forgery and uttering a false document but that the prosecution failed to adduce sufficient evidence in the third count, resulting in an acquittal.

In mitigation, one of Kambwili’s lawyer Musa Mwenye, state counsel, pleaded for maximum leniency saying Kambwili is a diabetic patient and a family man who also heads a political party. He asked the court to consider giving his client a suspended or non-custodial sentence.

Simusamba in passing sentence said he has considered that Kambwili was a first offender but also considered his conduct during the proceedings which he says was disrespectful to the institutions of justice.

Meanwhile the opposition UPND is dissatisfied and displeased over the conviction of national democratic congress-NDC- Leader Chishimba Kambwili.

UPND Secretary General Stephen Katuka said while the party respects the decision of the court, in an ideal environment, the circumstances under which the justice system is dispensing justice leaves much to be desired.

He said it is a well-known fact that principal magistrate David Simusamba had issues with Kambwili and should not have continued presiding over the case.

Katuka added that although there could have been a prima facie case against Kambwili, it was against the rules of natural justice that he could be subjected to a magistrate who had issues with the same litigant he was to convict of an offence.

Meanwhile, Socialist Party Leader Fred M’membe says he does not think Kambwili received fair trial under the hands of magistrate Simusamba.

But Economic and Equity Party leader Chilufya Tayali is disappointment that Zambians have taken the sentencing of the NDC leader as political victimisation when it is based on evidence.

Addressing the media in Lusaka today, Tayali who was the complainant in the matter is of the view that justice and fairness must prevail as long as there is evidence and those found wanting should be held accountable. Tayali has refuted claims suggesting that his decision to take the opposition leader to court was sponsored by the ruling pf.

(Phoenix News)


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