Beatrice Hangwende’s transfer from Mukobeko causes public outcry

The Zambia Correctional Service says the transfer of Lusaka business woman Beatrice Hangwende from Mukobeko Maximum Prison in Kabwe to Lusaka’s Chimbokaila Remand Prison is not aimed at providing her comfort.

Hangwende, a famous Lusaka business woman was sentenced to death along with her elder brother John and two others for murdering her husband’s lover Monica Chabwera Phiri in cold blood 11 years ago.

But last week, members of the public complained to News Diggers! that prison authorities had moved the convict from her designated prison to Lusaka in a bid to provide her comfort.

“Beatrice Hangwende is supposed to be at Mukobeko, but she is at Chimbokaila now on the pretext that she is sick. She was made an advocate for Gender Based Violence, we don’t know by who, to pave way for her release. This appeared several times on State television. One wonders who is on her payroll. That woman is a condemned prisoner who should be at Mukobeko, the public demands to know why she is being kept at Chimbokalia,” complained the members of the public who wrote to News Diggers!

The Zambia Correctional Service authorities through their Head of Public Relations Unit Margaret Nawa confirmed that Hangwende had been moved to Lusaka, but explained that the transfer was not permanent, adding that she was no longer a death row inmate.

“The Zambia Correctional Service did not transfer Beatrice Hangwende from Mukobeko Female Maximum Correctional Facility to Lusaka Central Correctional Centre, as a way of providing her some sort of ‘comfort’. Contrary to the assertions, Beatrice Hangwende is not on permanent transfer to Lusaka Central Female Correctional Facility. Her coming to Lusaka from Kabwe is purely for the purposes of seeking medical attention and attending to other court issues as required by the law. Section 71 (1) of the Prisons Act Cap 97 of the Laws of Zambia empowers the Service to take any sick prisoner to the hospital on advice of a medical officer and Beatrice is not an exception,” Nawa stated.

“Further, the Act in Sections 64 (1) requires the officer in Charge of a prison where an inmate with other court issues is confined to produce that prisoner to the Court of law, as and when he or she is required to appear before the court. Further, Section 68 empowers the Commissioner [Commissioner General in this case] to transfer any prisoner from one prison to another by any general or specific order to the officer in Charge.”

Nawa further clarified that contrary to assertions by interested parties that Hangwende was still on the death row, the convicts sentence had been converted into life imprisonment some years back.

“There is nothing irregular by law about Beatrice’s temporal transfer to Lusaka Central Correctional Facility and you may also wish to know that contrary to the assertions, Beatrice is no longer on the death row as her sentence was commuted to life imprisonment some years back. I hope this information will help in putting your records straight,” stated Nawa in response to a press query.

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