Nevers gets acquittal, put on defence in other charges

The Lusaka Magistrates’ Court has acquitted MMD faction leader Nevers Mumba on a charge of willful failure to comply with applicable procedures relating to management of public funds which were donated by a Canadian firm, Barrick Gold.

However, Ndola Industrial Relations court deputy registrar Joshua Banda, sitting as Lusaka magistrate, has found Mumba with a case to answer for arbitrary facilitating the awarding of contracts to two Canadian private companies which were contracted to renovate the Zambia High Commissioner’s residence in Canada.

In his ruling today, magistrate Banda acquitted Mumba on the the first count saying he did not flout procedure in disbursing $122,000 Canadian dollars received from Barrick Gold for a cultural exchange programme.

He said the ulitilisation of funds was handled above board and that Mumba could not be faulted, thereby dismissing the charge.

On the second and third count, magistrate Banda said Mumba should be placed on his defense for awarding contracts which witnesses said exceeded the threshold.

Witnesses had told the court that Mumba awarded the contract valued at $18,000 Canadian dollars which exceeded the authorised threshold for renovating the residence.

Magistrate Banda said he was not obliged, at this stage, to state the reasons why Mumba was placed on his defense.

In the first count, it was alleged that between June 1 and December 31, 2011 at the Zambian High Commissioner to Canada, being a person whose functions concerned the use of public revenue, willfully failed to comply with laid down procedures in receiving and disbursing of Canadian dollar CAD $ 122,229.85, a donation to the Zambian government from Canadian private company called Barrick Gold Corporation.

In the second count, Mumba was alleged to have on October 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010 at the Zambian High Commission in Canada, being a person in the public service as high commissioner abused the authority of his office by awarding a contract for electrical works at the Zambian High Commissioner’s residence in Canada to a Canadian private company called Restcon Construction Services at a cost of CAD $9,000 without following laid down procedure.

In the third count, the it was alleged that Mumba, on the same dates abused the authority of his office by awarding a contract for carpeting at the Zambia High Commissioner’s residence in Canada to a Canadian private company called Argos Carpet Limited at a cost of CAD$ 19,850 without following laid down procedure.

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