THE Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has filed a notice of appeal against the acquittal of Chishimba Kambwili, Mwamona Engineering Technical Services Limited and another 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.
According to a notice of appeal filed in the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court, Monday, the DPP wants to appeal to the High Court against the judgement of the lower court on four grounds.
In the first ground, the DPP has argued that the trial court erred at law when it acquitted Brano Musonda Lukwesa against the weight of the evidence on record in relation to count one (making a document without authority).
The DPP has also submitted that the trial court erred at law when it acquitted Mwamona Engineering Technical Services Limited against the weight of the evidence on record in relation to count two (uttering a false document) as well as in relation to count three (obtaining pecuniary advantage).
The DPP has further argued that the trial court erred at law when it held that the grounds for suspecting that the money reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime in possession of Kambwili and relating to the charges of being in possession of property suspected to be proceeds of crime, had been watered down.
Earlier this month, the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court acquitted 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.
In this matter, it was alleged in one of the counts that Mwamoma Engineering and Kambwili between August 1, 2014 and September 30, 2016, 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.
Delivering a judgement on September 9, 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 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 had 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.