Magistrate’s court acquit MMD Mbala Central MP of corruption charges
A KASAMA magistrate’s court has acquitted Mbala Member of Parliament of graft charges he was accused of committing during his time as Northern Province permanent secretary.
Magistrate Kelvin Soma said the State had failed to satisfy him on the ingredients of the offence for him to put Simfukwe and his co-accused Elias Simukonde on their defence.
Simfukwe of farm number 7070 Mumbwa Road Lusaka was jointly charged with provincial administration senior procurement officer Simukonde, 41, of number 27 Kasama Girls High School.
Particulars of the case were that on dates unknown but between May 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011 in Kasama as employees of the public service in their individual capacities authorised a contract of delivery and installation of traffic lights.
The sole contract was split by the duo in abuse of authority of their offices which led to the public service incurring a loss of K118, 492,640 an arbitrary act prejudicial to the interests of the country.
Mr Soma said the prosecution had failed to produce witnesses to prove that Simfukwe had employed favouritism in awarding the contract or show how he benefitted from the proceeds.
“It is also an insult to suggest that other members of the provincial procurement unit (PPU) committee that was responsible for awarding the contract were merely passengers leaving the process to be bulldozed the accused one and two.
“At no time did the procurement officer and the permanent secretary sit together to discuss tender issues and none of the PPU committee members were brought to testify on how the two accused person before this court abused their authority,” he said.
The magistrate pointed out lapses in the way the arresting officers had investigated the case by neglecting to get statements from individuals and institutions like Kasama Municipal Council who were key to the case.
A busload of Simfukwe’s sympathisers that were in court begun ululating immediately Mr Soma said Simfukwe and Simukonde were free to go.
Simfukwe who was accompanied by his lawyer Lastone Mwanabo said the acquittal would now give him piece of mind and free conscience.
“I can concentrate on working for the people in my constituency and stand ready to work with the Patriotic Front Government,” he said.
Others that attended the court case to show solidarity are suspended MMD Kasama District officials.