INCACERATED former Ministry of Health chief human resource and development officer Henry Kapoko is still in pursuit of his release from prison despite the Courts denying him bail pending appeal to the Court of Appeal against his conviction, sentence and forfeiture order of his properties.
After his efforts to secure his release proved futile Kapoko now wants the High Court to admit him to Constitutional bail, as he feels his rights are being infringed on by not being granted bail when the offenses he was convicted for are bailable.
The convict prayed to the Court to release him temporarily whilst his awaiting his appeal to be determined as he might spend nine years in prison by the time the appeal will be determined.
This is according to an affidavit in support of summons for admission to Constitutional bail pending hearing and determination of appeal pursuant to Article 18(1) of the Constitution chapter one Volume 1 of the laws of Zambia.
Kapoko stated that he was convicted for theft by public servant and money laundering by the Lusaka Magistrate’s Court and sentenced to 18 years imprisonment.
He said he appealed to the High Court and the sentence imposed on him by the subordinate court was quashed and replaced by a nine-year jail term.
“I have been incarcerated at the Lusaka Central correctional facility (Chimbokaila) from December 27, 2017 to date and I am scheduled to come out on December 12, 2023,” Kapoko said.
“I have so far served about four years of the jail sentence imposed on me by the High Court.”
Kapoko said that he appealed to the Court of Appeal against his conviction and sentence and applied for bail pending appeal but the High Court declined to grant him bail.
He stated that he renewed his bail application before the Court of Appeal which was heard by now Constitutional Court judge Judy Mulongoti and the same was declined.
The convict said following the ruling of the single judge of the Court of Appeal, he renewed the bail application before a panel of three judges of the Court of Appeal judge Justin Chashi, retired judge Florence Lengalenga and Betty Majula and the same was declined.
Kapoko lamented that from the time he launched his appeal before the Court of Appeal, it was now a year and it had not been heard due to the Court’s hectic schedule.
He said he was Constitutionally entitled to have his appeal determined on time.
“A period of over one year which has elapsed from the time I filed my appeal which has not been heard is unreasonable. Owing to the delay in hearing my appeal, I am entitled to be admitted to Constitutional bail,” Kapoko said.
“The busy schedule of the court cannot be attributed to me and I am being prejudiced by the fact that I am in jail while nothing is being done to ensure that my appeal is expeditiously heard by the Court of Appeal.”
He was concerned that even if his appeal was determined now by the Court of Appeal, it would take the Court another year to read the voluminous record of appeal and it would take another year for the Court to render its judgment and as a consequence, he would serve the entire period of his sentence.
Kapoko submitted that the offences he was convicted for were bailable, being a first offender and that his appeal had chances of success because the evidence he availed to the court was not considered by both the magistrate’s and High Courts.
He said the appeal was anchored on pointes of law and misinterpretations of laws.
“All the elements of offences levelled against me were not proved and established beyond reasonable doubt,” Kapoko stated.
“The Court imposed a custodial sentence on me when the offence of money laundering has an option for a fine and no aggravating circumstances were established.”
He added that no prejudice would be occasioned to the state once the Court grants bail and that he was capable of providing credible sureties and would abide by any conditions that the court may impose in order to secure his release.