THE Anti-Corruption Commission says it will appeal the Magistrates’ Court’s decision to discharge former Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development Ronald Chitotela because he did not meet the conditions of the deal.
In a statement, Wednesday, ACC Spokesperson Queen Chibwe stated the commission was totally dissatisfied with the decision, although it respected the court’s ruling that Chitotela was immune from being prosecuted based on a settlement agreement he signed with the Commission in 2019.
“The Anti-Corruption Commission will appeal the decision of the Magistrates’ Court following a ruling to discharge former Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development in the Patriotic Front Government and current Member of Parliament for Pambashe Constituency, Hon. Ronald Katongo Chitotela from two counts of possession of property reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime. Principal Resident Magistrate, Honourable Jennifer Bwalya has today (Wednesday) discharged Mr Chitotela from the two counts of possession of property reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime which Mr Chitotela was facing before Court on grounds that the immunity granted to him was still in force arising from the settlement agreement with the Commission. While the Anti-Corruption Commission respects the decision of the Court to hold that the accused person is immune from being prosecuted based on a settlement agreement he signed with the Commission in 2019, it is totally dissatisfied with the decision,” she stated.
Chibwe stated that the Commission believed that Chitotela did not fulfill the conditions set under section 80 of the Anti-Corruption Act Number 3 of 2012 with regards to the settlement agreement.
“To this end, the Commission will immediately exercise its right to appeal the decision on the basis that, among others, a settlement agreement under section 80 of the Anti- Corruption Act Number 3 of 2012 is only tenable when an accused person has fulfilled two conditions, and these are: i) He/she has given a full and true disclosure of all material facts relating to past corrupt conduct and an illegal activity; ii) He/she has voluntarily paid, deposited, or refunded ALL property the person acquired through corruption or illegal activity (Emphasis added) The Commission believes that the conditions set in the Act under Section 80 were not fulfilled by Hon. Chitotela. The Commission is fully persuaded and eager to appeal this matter so that the issues surrounding section 80 of the Anti-Corruption Act Number 3 of 2012 and the conduct and obligations of the parties in a settlement agreement are fully adjudicated upon,” stated Chibwe.