THE Lusaka Magistrates’ Court has acquitted Chishimba Kambwili, his son Mwamba and three others in a case where they were facing 39 counts of being in possession of property suspected to be proceeds of crime, uttering a false document, among other charges.
And Kambwili says the last four years have been painful for him from the time he was fired from government on allegations of corruption.
In this matter, Kambwili, Mwamba, Mwamona Engineering and Technical Services, Lukwesa Musonda Brano and Mulenga Makasa Kapilima were charged with; one count of making a document without authority, one count of uttering a false document, two counts of obtaining pecuniary advantage by false pretences and 35 counts of being in possession of property suspected to be proceeds of crime.
The accused persons were found with a case to answer earlier this year and placed on defence.
When the matter came up for judgement, Thursday, Judge Mwaka Mikalile sitting as senior resident magistrate found, as a matter of fact, that in March 2015, Brano and Kapilima as ZRA employees issued a tax clearance certificate which was in contention in the matter.
Magistrate Mikalile said the said certificate was submitted to Zesco and China Henan and over K1.6 million and over US$800,000 was received by Mwamona Engineering respectively, following contracts with the said companies.
She however found that after examining the evidence, the duo could not be faulted for issuing certificates that were valid up to the end of the year, and further noted that the state did not rebut evidence that was given in relation to challenges faced in issuing of the certificates.
Magistrate Mikalile said the fact that the certificate had errors did not make it fake, as other certificates that were brought before court and issued by other officers showed that the errors were not peculiar as the initial template was the one with mistakes that were perpetuated.
She further found that the two had authority to issue the certificate but may have been reckless by not paying attention to detail.
Magistrate Mikalile also noted that on the issue of the duo having intent to deceive or defraud, the state did not show the benefit of the two from the issuance of a certificate as they were acting in their normal duties.
She said there was no evidence that the tax clearance certificate was fake and found Brano and Kapilima not guilty and acquitted them.
On the two counts of uttering a false document to Zesco and China Henan, magistrate Mikalile found Chishimba Kambwili and Mwamona Engineering not guilty given that the said document has been found to be genuine hence the charge falling off.
She further found that Mwamona Engineering was correctly paid as they carried out the works under the said contracts and noted that Kambwili and the company did not have a pecuniary advantage as alleged.
Magistrate Mikalile, on the 35 counts of being in possession of property suspected to be proceeds of crime, said Kambwili ran the court through his various sources of income and tendered evidence which the state did not challenge showing that the amounts found in his bank accounts were from legitimate sources.
She acquitted Kambwili on the remaining charges on grounds that the state failed to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt.
“In light of the foregoing, I find that counts 5 to 39 have not been proved, as such I find the first accused (Kambwili) not guilty in counts 38 and 39 and I acquit them accordingly. You are free to go,” said magistrate Mikalile.
In this matter, it was alleged in one of the counts that Mwamoma Engineering and Kambwili on dates unknown but between August 1, 2014 and September 30, 2016, in Lusaka, whilst acting together by means of false pretence, dishonestly obtained US$105,220.07 from China Henan International Corporation Group Limited, purporting that Mwamona, a company which was subcontracted, was executing the works on Luwingu-Mansa road when in fact not.
Kambwili and Mwamona were also alleged to have presented a false ZRA tax clearance certificate to ZESCO purporting that it was genuinely issued, resulting in the award of a contract of K8 million for the construction of Houses and toilets under the Lunzua Hydro Power project, thereby obtaining pecuniary advantage of a contract sum of K1,652,482.81.
Meanwhile, speaking after being acquitted Kambwili said that the past four years had been painful for him.
“It has been a very painful four years from the time I was fired from government on this same allegation of being corrupt. I did issue a statement when these matters were brought to court that I am as clean as Dr Kaunda’s handkerchief. I go into public service to serve not to steal or to temper with public money. I was treated like this based on political patronage and I don’t want any Zambian to go through what I have gone through,” he said.
Kambwili added that political leadership must be used to uplift the living standards of the people, not to fix political opponents
“Those who are in leadership today, those who want to be in leadership tomorrow must know that political leadership must be used to uplift the living standards of our people not to fix political opponents. I was given nine criminal cases which were all on trumped up charges just to try and get at my political career. But I think God in heaven has been very faithful to us as a family, my wife and the children as we have gone through these hardships,” said Kambwili.
“I have since forgiven all the people that did these things to me and I have no grudge against them but to tell them that they should learn that they should never ever do these things to any Zambian.”