THE Lusaka Magistrates’ Court has convicted MMD leader Nevers Mumba of two counts of abuse of authority of office but handed him an absolute discharge.
Ndola High Court registrar Joshua Banda, who sat as a magistrate in Lusaka, last year found Mumba with a case to answer on two counts of abuse of office with allegations being that he 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.
Mumba, a former high commissioner to Canada, was also alleged to have awarded contracts to three private Canadian companies – Restcon Construction Services, Argos Carpet Limited, and Stanmark Construction – without following laid down procedure.
Magistrate Banda, however, last year acquitted Mumba of the first count in which he was facing a charge of willful failure to comply with applicable procedure in receiving and disbursing CAD$122,229.85 donation from Barrick Gold Corporation in Canada but found him with a case on two abuse of office offences.
Delivering judgment in the matter, magistrate Banda said Mumba followed the right procedure but that there was a small omission with regards certain terms of the contract. He, however, said Mumba was culpable by virtue of the position which he held as he had a duty to know the rules of procurement.
Magistrate Banda found Mumba liable in both counts and so found.
In mitigation through his lawyer Ireen Kunda, Mumba asked the court to consider an absolute discharge as he was a former vice-president, a leader of Victory Ministries International and leader of the MMD with a large following.
He also said he was a family man. Passing sentence, magistrate Banda said looking at the circumstances of the case and facts of the matter, he decided to give him an absolute discharge. Magistrate Banda added that he took judicial notice that Mumba was a former vice-president and also that he at times used to act as president which was no mean achievement.
In brief comments, Mumba said he was very proud of his performance in Canada, saying while he was there, he facilitated one of the largest investments from Barrick Gold Corporation.
He said the false allegations were meant to erase the legacy of Zambia in that country.
Mumba said he would issue a comprehensive statement later.