FORMER Ministry of Higher Education permanent secretary Owen Mugemezulu has appeared before the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court on a charge of willful failure to comply with applicable law and procedure involving US$225,000,000.

The Anti-Corruption Commission recently arrested Mugemezulu for corrupt practices involving over $33 million.

The commission said the arrest was in connection with a contract he is alleged to have signed in 2017 with China Energy Engineering Group–Hunan Power Design Institute Co. Ltd worth US$225,000,000 for the design and build of the FTJ Chiluba University in Mansa and Kasama, under the Ministry of Higher Education.

And according to the charge sheet, it is alleged that between January 1 and December 31, 2017, Mugemezulu, being a permanent secretary in the Ministry of Higher Education, did wilfully fail to comply with the applicable law or procedure relating to procurement in entering into a contract with China Energy Engineering Group- Hunan Electric Power Design Institute Co. Ltd worth US$225,000,000 for the design and building of FTJ Chiluba University without subjecting the said contract to Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) for approval.

When the case came up, Friday, Lusaka Chief Resident Magistrate Dominic Makalicha allocated it to magistrate Jennifer Bwalya, who was however not around.

The accused then appeared before magistrate Keegan Litiya for a mention, after which the prosecution applied that the matter be adjourned to May 3 for mention and possible plea before the trial court.

Magistrate Litiya adjourned the matter to May 3, 2022, and ordered that the accused remained in custody.