Former Energy PS gets acquittal in Trafigura case

Magistrates Court: File picture

Lusaka magistrate Greenwell Malumani has acquitted former Ministry of Energy permanent secretary Charity Mwansa and her director Charles Mulenga of charges of abuse of authority of office in relation to the procurement of oil from Trafigura in which government lost huge sums of money.

When the matter came up for ruling on case to answer today, magistrate Malumani said there was no single grain of evidence linking the accused to the offense.

And magistrate Malumani observed that police rushed their investigations into a complicated matter and started fishing for evidence whilst in court.

Magistrate Malumani said ironically, the all the prosecution witnesses testfied in favour of the accused.

He said the current permanent secretary Brigadier General Emeldah Chola also testfied in favour of the Mwansa that she did not breach any energy procedure and that money was not in her possession.

He said it was clear that none of the witnesses attempted to link the accused to the crime.

The prosecution did not officcialy close the case as they dispensed with the nineth witness from the Ministry of Finance as he did not have documents needed for the case.

The court had treated the failure by the state to bring their final witnesses as the closure of the case and ordered for the filling of submissions which the defense did.

Magistrate recounted how the prosecution never took the matter seriously saying the case had delayed by a series of adjournments.

He said no court of compentent jurisdiction could safely put the accused on their defense in light of insufficient evidence as no one gained gratification.

And Mwansa broke down in the dock when it was clear that the she would be accquitted.

The accused, who continued sitting in the dock after the acquittal,were asked to leave the dock.

The duo were accused of procuring oil from Trafigura without adhering to the contract terms of payment as the state had failed to prove a case against them.

Allegations in this matter were that between October 1,2014 and February 2015 jointly and whilst acting together the ex energy permanent secretary and her director for the purposes of gain did approvebthe issuance of a letter of credit no SLC/12/15MWEDZ dated February 4, 2015 for procurement of 26.500 cubic litres of petrol from Trafigura in the sum of US $24,302,555.94 without adhearing to the contract terms of payments an arbitrary act prejudicial to the interest of the Zambian government.

The accused were also alleged to have approved the issuance of a letter of credit number SLC/12/15/MEWDZ dated April 27,2015 for procurement of 22,626.28 cubic litres of petrol from Trafigura in the sum of US$12,551,307.45 without adhering to the contract terms of payments.

Mwansa and Mulenga, being persons employed by government, were also accused of stealing US$9.880.411.55 which came into their possession by virtue of their employment.

The accused are also charged with another count of theft of US1,231,092.89.

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