finance minister Katele Kalumba, former finance permanent secretary Stella
Chibanda, defunct Access Financial Services director Faustin Kabwe being led to
a police van after they were jailed. Top left, Kalumba with Kabwe being driven
to jail. Left, Chibanda, Kabwe (r) and Aaron Chungu (2nd from left) after they
were jailed in Lusaka yesterday 26.05.2010 — The
Lusaka High Court Deputy Director of
Operations Edward Musona yesterday sentenced MMD national secretary Katele
Kalumba and three others to five years imprisonment for
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
Magistrate Musona also sentenced former Ministry of Finance chief
economist Bede Mpande, former finance ministry director of budget Boniface
Nonde, 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
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
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.
Delivering an over five-hour judgment that drew people
like chief Puta of the Bwile people of Chiengi and agriculture minister Peter
Daka, magistrate Musona said he had sentenced Kalumba to five years imprisonment
with hard labour because he had not shown remorse, repentance and regret over
his involvement in the matters before the court.
Magistrate Musona said
it was not in dispute that Kalumba and the others were public officers at the
time the matters before the court were taking place. He said Chungu and Kabwe
were in the case through their interaction with these public
Magistrate Musona said the Zambian government entered into some
contracts with foreign governments and international institutions to install
security features at various government institutions. He said two of such
institutions were the American organisations known as Wilbain Incorporated and
Magistrate Musona said some accused persons were
among the public officers who were involved in processing the payments to
Wilbain and Systems Innovation. He said there was also some level of involvement
from the Office of the President (OP) and leading among the officers involved
was former Zambia Security Intelligence Services (ZSIS) director general Xavier
"Those contracts eventually acquired the acronym of security
contracts," magistrate Musona said.
He said there were also other
institutions like AFSL, Access Leasing and Garden Plumbers that were connected
to the OP and also linked to the payments from the Zamtrop
Magistrate Musona said the Zamtrop account, which was holding OP
funds, was automatically a public account because OP was a public institution.
He said it was a proper thing to do for the public officers that followed the
procedure in liquidating the government's indebtness to the two American
But magistrate Musona said there were supposed to be nine
payment instalments up to the conclusion of the government's obligation to
Wilbain and Systems Innovation but these payments were duplicated because they
did not stop at the ninth instalment.
Magistrate Musona said the ninth
instalment payment was paid four times, the eleventh was paid three times, the
thirteenth was paid twice and these repeated payments were more than 13 in
He said these payments accumulated into the overpayment of the
government's debt and these could not just be a mere error in numbering because
they were paid through procedure.
"These overpayments were not without
purpose. These overpayments were planned," magistrate Musona said.
said there was a deliberate action to siphon funds from the Zambian government.
Magistrate Musona said after looking at letters written by Xavier Chungu, it did
not make sense that contractors who were owed money by the government for
projects being paid from the Zamtrop account should again be paying into the
He said the security contracts to Wilbain and Systems
Innovation were difficult to access and were not on the Ministry of Finance debt
database because they were linked to the OP and perceived as
Magistrate Musona said Kalumba sometime in 2000 said all payment
approvals should go to him because he wanted to keep a close eye on the payments
following concerns on the payments on the security contracts.
magistrate Musona said it was surprising that the payments to the two companies
continued even after the government had paid the last instalment despite
Kalumba's memo. He said the decision by Kalumba to approve all the payments at
the time equally raised curiosity.
Magistrate Musona found Kalumba guilty
on one count of receipt of 4,000 pounds as gratification and he convicted him
In mitigation Kalumba's lawyer, Vincent Malambo, said
Kalumba and his colleagues in the dock were not criminals but men to whom the
country owed a debt for their contribution in addressing the Highly Indebted
Poor Countries (HIPC) completion point issue.
Malambo said Kalumba was
also a politician carrying the hopes and aspirations of thousands of his people
in Chiengi and he was a man with health complications.
Kalumba was a consultant of international repute.
Malambo said sending
Kalumba and his friends to prison would be like imposing a death sentence on
In passing sentence, magistrate Musona said no one could doubt the
love that Kalumba had for Zambia and he had served the people in various
portfolios. He said Kalumba was a sitting parliamentarian who served the country
very well up to the commencement of the investigations.
"How I wish you
had shown remorse, repentance and regret by refunding the money to the state.
That would have really assisted me," magistrate Musona said. "I order that you
serve five years imprisonment with hard labour."
In a post-sentence
interview, Kalumba said his conviction was a price one had to pay for serving
"It is difficult to say but I think it's a price one has to
pay when you serve the public. I hope that we continue with the struggle,"
Kalumba said. "I did my best for my country and I did my best for my country and
I am proud of what I did, to serve Zambia reach the HIPC decision point is the
evidence that has been brought against me. I have nothing to say, all I can call
upon is my own courage and thank the Zambian people who have been standing by
me. The battle continues."
Kalumba said he would appeal against the
In the case of Chibanda, magistrate Musona convicted her to
five years simple imprisonment on grounds that her Niseo Farm in Kabwe was
procured using Zamtrop funds and therefore corruptly obtained.
Musona sentenced Mpande to five years imprisonment with hard labour but
suspended for 24 months on the two charges of corrupt practice by a public
Nonde was on the other hand sentenced to five years imprisonment
with hard labour but suspended for 24 months on all the charges against
Prof Mweene was also slapped with a five-year suspended prison
sentence for 24 months with hard labour on one count involving the erection of a
cottage at his plot in Lusaka's Jesmondine area by Access Financial Services as
Magistrate Musona said the trio had shown remorse,
repentance and regret by refunding the money they received in the Zamtrop
transactions to the state.
Magistrate Musona sentenced Kabwe and Chungu
to five years imprisonment with hard labour on various counts of corruption with
public officer in a matter that has taken over six years to
Former Task Force on Corruption prosecutor Mutembo Nchito, who
was recently fired by the government, prosecuted the case.
Musona said the convicts had a right to appeal if they were not satisfied with
his judgment and the sentences were with effect from