The Lusaka High Court has acquitted Directors of the defunct Access Financial Services Aaron Chungu and Faustin Kabwe of the offence of being in possession of property reasonably suspected to have been stolen or unlawfully obtained.
The court has upheld Mr Kabwe and Chungu’s appeal and set aside the Magistrate judgment which convicted the duo.
In a judgment by a panel of Judges Banda -Bobo, Betty Mungomba and Mwila Chitabo, State Counsel, the court has deemed the convictions of the two under counts 11 and 12 unsafe and set them at liberty forthwith.
The court found that there was no basis upon which the trial Magistrate could have convicted the appellants for the offence of being in possession of property reasonably suspected of having been stolen or unlawfully obtained.
The judges found that the only misdirection from the evidence is failure by the trial magistrate to consider the explanation given by the appellants in the defence.
They ruled that the trial magistrate would have inevitably come to the conclusion that the explanation given was a reasonable explanation if he had taken into account the duo’s submissions.
Citing the authority of Maseka versus the People and Kalonga versus the people, the judges found that the explanation by the appellants satisfied the criteria of the being reasonably possible or could reasonably have been true.
The court has granted leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal.
This is an appeal case from the Magistrate court against both the conviction and sentence of Mr Kabwe and Mr Chungu to a term of three years with hard labour.