The Lusaka Magistrates’ Court has convicted and sentenced former Ministry of Health chief human resources development officer Henry Kapoko to two years imprisonment with hard labour for abuse of authority, theft by public servant and money laundering.
But the court has acquitted Kapoko’ s co accused, Nobert Peleti, who was the acting director of human resources and administration of theft charges amounting to K586,701.00 due to lack of evidence linking him to the offence.
In a seven-hour long judgement today, Lusaka High Court deputy registrar Aridah Chulu, sitting as magistrate, said the court was duty bound to protect the nation and the poor from people like Kapoko who did not live within their means.
She said Kapoko’s sentencing would serve as a warning to people who had a habit of siphoning money.
Magistrate Chulu sentenced Kapoko to two years imprisonment on all six charges he was facing which would run concurrently.
She said it was clear that Kapoko benefited from the Ministry of Health funds following the participation of his companies in the bidding process.
She said Kansma Investment Limited, a company which won the tender for the supply of computers and printers, belonged to the convict’s cousin and that he was facilitating for the payments for the same.
Magistrate Chulu said the inquiry address used for the company was for Best Home Lodge which was the Kapoko’s property and that the quotation for Kansma was found at his residence during a search by investigative wings.
The court said it was clear that Kapoko stole K586,701.00 which money he obtained from Kansma for the items which were not even delivered.
“There is no doubt that the convict engaged in a business transaction and money acquired from an illegal activity was used to purchase stand number 25 Mandahill Road,” Magistrate Chulu said.
She said Kapoko acted against the provisions of the law which action was prejudicial to the interests of the Zambian government.
Earlier in mitigation, the convict asked for leniency saying he regretted his action and he was a family man.
Through his lawyer Kelvin Bwalya Fube, Kapoko said he had conducted himself properly the last nine years of coming to court for the said offences.
In count one, Kapoko being a public officer obtained advantage by influencing the awarding of a contract to Kansma Investment Limited to supply and deliver 15 HP desktop computers and 15 laser jet printers to the Ministry of Health between October 2007 and 31 January, 2008.
He influenced the awarding of contract to the same company to supply and deliver 7,200 reams of human resources development forms, a transaction that involved the ministry.
Kapoko was also facing three counts of money laundering in which he indirectly engaged in a business transaction involving K1,173,402.00, money acquired from an illegal activity.
He was also accused of stealing property of the Government of the Republic of Zambia which came into his possession by virtue of his employment.