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Magistrate acquits Mumba on willful failure to comply with procedure while in Canada

THE Lusaka Magistrates’ Court on Friday acquitted MMD leader Nevers Mumba of willful failure to comply with applicable procedure in receiving and disbursing CAD$122,229.85 donation from Barrick Gold Corporation in Canada.

The court, however, found Mumba with a case to answer in the two counts of abuse of authority of office and placed him on defence.

Ndola High Court registrar Joshua Banda, who sat as a magistrate in Lusaka, said there were no procedural irregularities in the manner Mumba got the funds from Barrick Gold Corporation for the cultural event.

He said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave Mumba a go ahead to source for funds to host the cultural event after he wrote them a letter.

Magistrate Banda was further satisfied that all the money which was donated to the event was spent as per approved budget as agreed with Barrick Gold, the sponsor.

Magistrate Banda, however, said Mumba maybe called upon to answer to charges in counts two and three relating to abuse of authority of office in regard to the embassy’s threshold in awarding contracts to lay carpets and repairing the lighting system at the Zambian High Commission’s official residence in Ottawa.

Allegations in the first count were that Mumba, as Zambia’s High Commissioner to Canada, between June 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011 wilfully failed to comply with laid down procedures in receiving and disbursing CAD$122,229.85, a donation to the Zambian government by a private company called Barrick Gold Corporation.

In count two, Mumba is alleged to have abused the authority of his office between October 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010 by awarding contracts valued at CAD$9,000, CAD$19,850 and CAD$5,248 for electrical works, carpeting and construction of a deck at the Zambian High Commissioner’s residence in Canada.

Further, allegations are that Mumba awarded contracts to three Canadian private companies; Restcon Construction Services, Argos Carpet Limited and Stanmark Construction without following laid down procedure.

The case comes up for defence submission and judgment on December 19, 2017.

The prosecution took six years to make their case against Mumba, who was High Commissioner to Canada.

President Michael Sata had accused Mumba of abusing public funds.

Although the Auditor General confirmed in her 2011 audit report that Ottawa was not among embassies found wanting, Sata insisted that forensic teams be sent to Canada to find any evidence to ensure a conviction.

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