FORMER Community Development and Social Services minister has been sentenced to two years simple imprisonment for failing to follow the law in relation to the Social Cash Transfer Program.
Lusaka magistrate Lameck Mwale found Kabanshi guilty of two counts of willful failure to follow the law in the manner in which Zampost was engaged as a payment service provider for the Social Cash Transfer Program and also on how the contract between Zampost and the Community Development ministry was amended.
Magistrate Mwale said the sentence is with effect from today.
He said the prosecution have established the case against Kabanshi beyond any reasonable doubt.
Kabanshi pleaded for maximum leniency in her mitigation but magistrate Mwale said he will give her a custodial sentence to deter other would-be offenders.
“I have considered the mitigation and the fact that she was a first offender who deserves leniency of court but I’m of view that the offence was a serious one which attracts a custodial sentence of about 14 years,” he said.
Magistrate Mwale said the circumstances under which Kabanshi committed the offences are aggravating, especially considering that she insisted and pushed for Zampost to be engaged as service provider, when it was clear that the beneficiary intended were not receiving the funds.
He also found as an aggravating factor the fact that Kabanshi was attacking technocrats when they meant well.
Some key witnesses had testified how Kabanshi ensured that they were either transferred or retired in national interest.
“There is need to set an example to would-be offenders to desist from such. I therefore, convict her to 24 months simple imprisonment effective from today,” said magistrate Mwale.
Allegations in the first count were that Kabanshi between January 1, 2017 and August 21, 2017 at Lusaka being a minister in the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services, willfully failed to comply with the law, applicable procedure or guidelines relating to procurement, in engaging Zampost as a payment service provider, for the Social Cash Transfer Program.
In count two, allegations were that Kabanshi between August 21, 2017 and April 26, 2018 at Lusaka, being Community Development minister, willfully failed to comply with the law, applicable procedure or guideline relating to procurement, in amending the contract between the Ministry and Zampost for the Social Cash Transfer program.
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