LUSAKA Chief Resident Magistrate Lameck Mwale has put off the delivery of judgement to April 22, this year, in a case where former Minister of Community Development and Social Services Emerine Kabanshi is facing charges of wilful failure to comply with the law, applicable procedure or guidelines relating to procurement.
This is in relation to procurement involving the Social Cash Transfer program.
When the matter came up for judgement, Monday morning, Magistrate Mwale said the judgement was not yet ready but that he would deliver it on Thursday.
In this matter, it is alleged in count one that Kabanshi between August 21, 2017 and April 26, 2018 in Lusaka, as a minister concerned in the administration and management at the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services, wilfully failed to comply with the law, applicable procedure and guidelines relating to procurement by extending the scope of coverage of contract number MCDSS/SP/10/2017 between ZAMPOST MCDSS to include three provinces and two districts under Social Cash Transfer programme.
In count two, it is alleged that Kabanshi during the same period wilfully failed to comply the law, procedures and guidelines relating to procurement when re-engaging ZAMPOST as payment service provider under contract number MCDSS/10/2017 for Social Cash Transfer programme following the termination of the said contract.
The State closed its case in December, last year, after calling 11 witnesses to testify in the matter.
In January this year, Magistrate Mwale found Kabanshi with a case to answer and placed her on her defence.
But in her defence, Kabanshi who gave unsworn evidence, told the court that she had nothing to do with the extension of the scope of coverage of a contract between ZAMPOST to include three provinces and two districts under the Social Cash Transfer programme.x
“What I have to say to this court is that if I was the one that was charged with the functions of implementing the extension of a contract, the Attorney General would have addressed the letter to me and given me advice on how to go about it,” she said.
“I had nothing to do with those extensions. I wasn’t part. What I mean by that is that the contents on how to go implementing that contract is all the preserve of the technocrats. And they are the ones that made it and they signed.”
Regarding the second charge that between August 21, 2017 and April 26, 2018 Kabanshi willfully failed to comply the law, procedures and guidelines relating to procurement when re-engaging ZAMPOST as payment service provider for Social Cash Transfer programme following the termination of the contract, the accused said there was no re-engagement that was done during that time.
She said to her knowledge, the re-engagement which was done in the Ministry was on August 8, 2018.
Kabanshi said there was a letter that the acting permanent secretary wrote to the post master general telling him about how the re-engagement was going to be done.