Former Ministry of Energy PS asks for acquittal in Trafigura case

Magistrates Court: File picture

Former Ministry of Energy permanent secretary Charity Mwansa and her director Charles Mulenga have asked the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court to acquit them on charges of abuse of authority of office in relation to the procurement of oil from Trafigura without adhering to the contract terms of payment.

In their written submissions ahead of ruling on no case to answer scheduled for today, Mwansa and Mulenga prayed that the court finds them with no case to answer as the state had “not proved the elements or ingredients of the offences”.

The duo, through their lawyer Luckson Mwanabo, stated that the fact that the the accused were in the procurement committee and signed the contracts did not prove the case beyond reasonable doubt and as such, they must not be subjected to defend themselves.

Allegations in this matter are that between October 1,2014 and February 2015, jointly and whilst acting together, the Mwansa and Mulenga, for the purposes of gain, did approve the 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 adhering to the contract terms of payments an arbitrary act prejudicial to the interest of the Zambian government.

The accused are 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, are 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 US$1,231,092.89.

But the lawyer submitted that the indictment was bad at law as the particulars did not refer to solicitation, acceptance or receipt of any gratification or an attempt to do so by the accused as indicted by the state.

The lawyer stated that the statement of offence and particulars of offence in the first and third counts were inconsistent with the provisions of the Anti-Corruption Commission Act as such the charge sheet was bad at law.

Magistrate Greenwell Malumani is expected to deliver ruling on no case to answer today.

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