The Lusaka Magistrate Court has convicted Lusaka Freelance Journalist Chanda Chimba over his role in the production of controversial television documentaries called Stand up for Zambia.
The Reporter who is now undergoing treatment for prostate cancer was found guilty for disposing property suspected to be proceeds of crime.
His co-accused former Information Minster Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha and former Information Permanent Secretary Sam Phiri have been acquitted on charges of abuse of authority of office.
Magistrate Obbyster Musukwa also established that the business trading name Phibajo Productions has been found to have been operating without any formal registration of the business at the National Archives.
He has also been convicted for disposing off property reasonably suspected to have been obtained from unlawful sources.
Mr. Chimba has since been remanded in custody and will be sentenced today.
Delivering the verdict yesterday afternoon, Magistrate Musukwa said the prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt that Mr. Chimba’s firm had no capacity to pay for documentaries aired on public and private media outlets.
Magistrate Musukwa on the other hand ruled that the prosecution failed to prove that Gen. Shikapwasha and Mr. Phiri directed that ZNBC should air the Stand up for Zambia documentaries in 2010.
The trio was found with a case to answer in June 2016 on charges of abuse of authority, unlawful publication and possession of property suspected to be proceeds of crime.
Mr Chimba was producing a controversial TV Series called Stand up for Zambia which aired on ZNBC and was notorious for propaganda against then opposition leader Michael Sata.
The Permanent Secretary was accused of involving ZNBC in arbitrary decisions against the editorial policy and independence.
Patriotic Front (PF) leader Michael Sata sued the publisher of Stand Up for Zambia (SUFZ) News, Chanda Chimba III for allegedly publishing defamatory articles about him, including his sickness.
The late Micheal Sata claimed he had been seriously injured in his character, credit and reputation and was demanding damages and an injunction restraining Mr Chimba and his servant or agents from distributing, circulating or selling the said tabloid until determination of the matter.
He said Mr Chimba’s publication alleged that his sicknesses had led to fears that he might not lead the country longer due to his serious medical condition.
In a statement of claim filed in the Lusaka High Court, Mr Sata said the defamatory articles were under the headlines “Sata is a sick man”, “Close encounter with the Cobra” and “King Cobra spearheads homosexual campaigns”.
The first article stated that he was diagnosed with four threatening diseases in September 2009 after undergoing 22 different medical tests at a named clinic in Lusaka.
He said a tube was inserted to pump out some fluid around the heart as a consequence of his heavy smoking and that there were fears that even if he was elected as president, he would not lead the country for a long time because of the serious medical condition.
The second article stated that he would make a dangerous leader should Zambians make a mistake of voting him into office because he was exceedingly tribal and a reckless dictator.
It stated that Mr Sata lacked any qualification to be head of State and his understanding of issues was limited to attacks, insults and lies.
The third article indicated that his desperation for power had turned him into a pro-gay activist.
“Sata is desperate because the Orange Party in Taiwan which bankrolled his last three attempts at the presidency is out of power and is demanding back the money that they spent on him and the land and other things that he had promised.
“Following the loss of power of the Orange Party in Taiwan, Mr Sata has now turned to gay activists and countries that support homosexuality to fund his campaign so that in return he would enhance gay rights in Zambia.
Mr Sata said the articles in their natural and ordinary meaning were understood to mean that his health had considerably deteriorated, and that the Zambian electorate should not vote for the plaintiff in the forthcoming presidential election as he was unlikely to conclude his term of office due to poor health.
Mr Sata contended that although he had been evacuated to South Africa and treated at Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg, he was discharged after full recovery in the same month and even participated in the presidential elections as a candidate under PF. He had also engaged in vigorous countrywide campaigns as a testimony that he was in good health.
ZNBC sued freelance journalist Chanda Chimba III demanding that he paid the Corporation more than K500, 000 for legal proceedings instituted against the national broadcaster for airing the “defamatory” Stand up for Zambia programme on his behalf.
Chanda Chimba III faced two counts of unlawful printing and publication contrary to section 5 (1) of chapter 161 of the laws of Zambia.
Particulars of the offences were that between June 9 and July 28, 2011 and August 25 and September 26, 2011 respectively, Chanda Chimba III unlawfully did cause to be printed or published a newspaper “Stand up for Zambia” which was not registered at the office of the Director of National Achieves of Zambia.
It wass further alleged that Chanda Chimba III unlawfully did cause to be printed or published a newspaper “News of our Times” which was not registered at the office of the Director of National Achieves of Zambia.
In the last count, Chanda Chimba III wass charged with an offence of possession of property suspected to be proceeds of a crime contrary to section 71 of the Forfeiture of Proceeds and Crime Act No. 19 of 2010 of the Laws of Zambia.
It was alleged that on dates unknown but between June 9 and September 16, 2011, while in Lusaka Chanda Chimba III did have in possession or control an accumulated total of K611,440,433.12 money he paid for his private media and printing services to ZNBC, Muvi television and Zambia Daily Mail Limited respectively, money which was reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime.