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Kabanshi takes fresh plea in social cash transfer case

LUAPULA member of parliament Emerine Kabanshi has taken fresh plea in a matter where she is facing two counts of willful failure to comply with the law, applicable procedure or guideline relating to procurement.

The former minister of community development and social services who is being prosecuted for the mismanagement of the social cash transfer funds denied the charges before Lusaka magistrate Lameck Mwale after the state substituted the indictment for the second time.

The Drug Enforcement Commission amended the particulars of the offense in both charges of willful failure to comply with the law, applicable procedure or guidelines relating to procurement.

Allegations in count one are that between January 1 and August 21, 2017, Kabanshi, being a minister concerned in the administration and management at the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services, willfully failed to comply with the law applicable procedure or guidelines relating to procurement by extending the scope of coverage of contract number MCDSS/SP/10/2017 between Zambia Postal Services Corporation and the ministry to include three provinces and two districts under the social cash transfer programm.

It is alleged in the second count that the accused between August 21, 2017 and April 26, 2018, willfully failed to comply with the law, applicable procedure or guideline relating to procurement by re-engaging Zampost as the payment service provider under contract number MCDSS/10/2017 for the Social Cash Transfer programme following the termination of the said contract.

Trial in the matter could not commence as her lawyer, Katindo Mwale, asked for more time to study the indictment and the lead counsel, Jonas Zimba, was appearing before the Constitutional Court.

Earlier, magistrate Mwale ordered the accused to attend court whenever the matter comes up.

At the last sitting when the matter came up for mention and fixing of trial dates, Kabanshi was not before court prompting magistrate Mwale to express concern.

Last year President Edgar Lungu fired Kabanshi and Zampost master general Mcpherson Chanda over mismanagement of Social Cash Transfer funds.

It was alleged that some of the beneficiaries of the social cash transfer did not benefit from the programme.

The matter comes up today for commencement of trial.

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