An appeal against the acquittal of a social welfare officer and a businessman accused of giving up his kid for adoption to an American couple was partially dismissed by the Lusaka High Court, much to the sadness of a Lusaka parent.
Obrien Mugoti expressed his disappointment following the verdict, saying that the appeal’s denial lessened the likelihood that his son, who was adopted at three months old, would ever see him again.
“I have never seen my son for 14 years now, all i want is my son back,” Mr Mungoti said.
A businessman was found guilty of lying to a public official about the birth of a kid who was reportedly illegally placed for adoption by an American couple yesterday. The infant was three months old.
The lower court’s decision to exonerate a social welfare officer who had been accused alongside the convicted businessman Lawrence Mulenga was maintained by the higher court.
In one instance, a three-month-old baby was allegedly abducted by Musenge Mumba, a juvenile officer, and Lawrence Mulenga, a businessman and former social welfare officer.
They were also accused of providing a public official with incorrect information.
It is alleged that Mumba submitted a child adoption petition with fraudulent information to a judge at the Lusaka Magistrate’s Court complex between January 1 and July 31, 2007.
Additionally, it is claimed that between January 1 and July 31, 2007, Mumba and Mulenga transported a four-year-old child outside the borders of Zambia without getting the father, Obrien Mungoti, who was legally qualified to give authorization on the child’s behalf, to do so.
The accused entered a plea of not guilty, but was later given a case to answer and forced to provide their defense.
In her defense, Mumba refuted the accusations, saying that the mother of the child had approved the adoption and that the petitioners from America, not the mother, were the ones who had submitted the adoption petition.
During the hearing, the court discovered a disparity between the child’s birthdate and the date the adoption notice was sent out.
Mulenga-related evidence suggested that the dates on the adoption paperwork indicated the child’s adoption process began before his birth.
Mulenga, though, said that a clergy error could have caused the dates to be off.
The two were declared innocent in the magistrate Lameck Mwale’s ruling.
The State subsequently appealed the decision to the High Court, claiming that the lower court had committed a legal error by admitting a photocopy of an adoption consent document into evidence in violation of the rules governing admissibility of evidence.
Senior state counsel Bob Mwewa argued in the six grounds of appeal that the lower court erred in concluding that the child’s mother gave her agreement to the adoption because there was no evidence of such consent in the records gathered from the Social Welfare Department and court registries.
Mulenga was found guilty and penalized 1,500 penalty units by Judge Pixie Yangailo for providing a public official with false information, but she affirmed Musenge’s innocence.