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 2010-08-31 07:16 am Back to NEWS
Regina’s judgment in appeal against conviction deferred to Oct 1
Former president Frederick Chiluba's wife Regina arriving at the Supreme Court in Lusaka on August 30, 2010The Post

The Lusaka High Court has deferred to October 1, 2010 judgment in a case involving former president Fredrick Chiluba's wife Regina.

And judgment in a case where convicted former lands minister Reverend Gladys Nyirongo is challenging the four-year sentence slapped on her by the magistrates' court after she was found guilty of abuse of authority of office has been adjourned to September 10, 2010.

High Court judge Evans Hamaundu sitting with justice Eddie Sikazwe adjourned the matter on ground that it was not yet ready.

When the matter came up for judgment, the two judges told a packed court room that the judgment was not ready and proposed that they agree on fresh dates.

The state was not before court and judge Hamaundu wondered where they were.

Defence counsel Robert Simeza then told the court that there was no official communication from the state but that his interaction with colleagues from the state chambers gave an impression that they may be having a seminar in Livingstone.

Simeza explained that based on that, he assumed the advocates from the Attorney General's chambers were attending a seminar hence their absence in court.

Chief Justice Ernest Sakala last year directed that appeals in corruption cases involving Regina and Nyirongo should be heard by a panel of three judges.

Regina appealed to the High Court against her three-year conviction by the Lusaka magistrates' court.

Chief resident magistrate Charles Kafunda jailed Regina for three years and six months after finding her guilty on five counts of receiving property believed to be stolen.

Earlier, she was facing six counts of receiving property suspected to have been stolen but was acquitted on count four relating to a motor vehicle.

In acquitting Regina, magistrate Kafunda said the prosecution had failed to establish beyond all reasonable doubt that the said motor vehicle was stolen or unlawfully obtained.

Particulars of the offence were that on a date unknown but between January 1997 and September 30, 2002 in Ndola, Regina failed to account for possession of property on stand number NDO/14 purchased at US $80,000 which was reasonably suspected to have been stolen or unlawfully obtained.

She was on the second count alleged to have failed to account for possession of property known as stand number KIT/643 purchased at US $48,000 cash, money reasonably suspected of having been stolen or unlawfully obtained.

Regina was on the third count alleged to have on a date unknown but between January 1997 and September 30, 2002 in Ndola failed to account for possession of property on stand number KIT/645 purchased at US $60,000 cash.
She was on the fourth count alleged to have failed to account for possession of a motor vehicle Isuzu KB registration number AAT 2603 suspected to have been stolen or unlawfully obtained.

Regina was on the fifth count alleged to have, on unknown dates, but between January 1997 and September 30, 2002 in Ndola received from Frederick Chiluba one Toshiba 61-inch colour television set, serial number 69140018, model No PJ 98 B knowing or having reason to believe that the same had been feloniously stolen or obtained.

On the sixth count, it was alleged that on a date unknown but between January 1997 and September 30, 2002 in Ndola, she failed to account for possession of K474,000,000 cash, which was reasonably suspected of having been stolen or unlawfully obtained.

Magistrate Kafunda sentenced Regina to two years six months simple imprisonment on each count saying they were misdemeanors and three years six months on count five saying it was a felony.

Magistrate Kafunda explained that the sentences would run concurrently meaning Regina would be imprisoned for three years six months. Regina was later granted bail worth K30 million with two working sureties.

And in a case where Nyirongo is challenging her conviction, Judge Albert Wood told said he was adjourning the matter to a later date because the judgment was not ready as one of the judges handling the matter was busy with the election petition for Mufumbwe constituency.

On February 13, 2009, principal resident magistrate Sharon Kaunda Newa jailed Rev Nyirongo for four years after finding her guilty on charges of abuse of authority of office. On the first count, magistrate Newa sentenced Rev Nyirongo to 24 months imprisonment while on the second count, she jailed her 48 months. The sentences were to run concurrently meaning she would have served four years. Later, Rev Nyirongo applied for bail, which she was granted worth K60 million with two working sureties pending her appeal.

In the event that she lost her appeal, she would still serve four years. She appealed to the High Court against the four-year jail sentence, contending that the court erred in law and fact when it convicted her on the sole evidence of Daisy Mulenga whose evidence she said was uncollaborated and contradictory.

The Post

 
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