The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has expressed concern with sentencing trend that has seen three people, among them two Police officers, being discharged despite being found guilty of corrupt practices and abuse of office, respectively.
This sentencing trend, according to ACB, is against Section 34 of the Corrupt Practices Act, which mandate the courts to slap convicts with twelve year imprisonment with hard.
The Bureau expressed concern after Kasungu Magistrate Court dismissed charges against the accused person despite finding them guilty of corrupt transactions, abuse of office and theft contrary to Section 24(1) and 25B (1) of the Corrupt Practices Act and Section 278 of the Penal Code.
In 2010, the Bureau received a complaint alleging that police officers in Kasungu solicited and received K10, 000.00 from three farmers in order for the police officers to release subsidized seed which they had confiscated from the farmers.
The ACB instituted investigations into the matter and established that police officers James Maganga and Ephraim Nasala seized 20 packets of maize seed each weighing 20 kilogrammes from three farmers on pretext that the farmers did not have identity cards.
When the farmers produced the identity cards the police officers demanded K5000.00 from each of the farmers. The farmers managed to pay K10, 000.00, but the Police officers did not return the seed to the farmers.
The Bureau took the two to Kasungu Magistrates Court in 2011 where they were charged with one count of corrupt practices by public officers, abuse of office and theft contrary to Section 24(1) and 25B (1) of the Corrupt Practices Act and Section 278 of the penal code.
And July 15 2015, Kasungu Magistrate’s Court found the two accused guilty of all the charges. However, the court, which applied Section 337 (1) (a) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Code, dismissed the charges.
Another case involved a sales clerk at Chamama Smallholder Farmers Fertilizer Revolving Fund Satellite Depot in the same district.
The sale clerk, Tawanda Masiye was arrested after the Bureau established he was selling 50kg FISP fertilizer at K2500 instead of K500 and he was pocketing the difference, according to ACB spokesperson Egrita Ndala.
He was arrested on Febraury 24 this year and later dragged to Kasungu Magistrate Court where was also charged with corrupt transactions by or with private bodies contrary to Section 26(1) of the Corrupt Practices Act.
“On 5th August, 2015, Kasungu Magistrate’s Court found Masiye guilty but did not convict him. The Court applied Section 337 (1) (a) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Code and dismissed the charges.
“The Bureau is concerned with this sentencing trend as it is against Section 34 of the Corrupt Practices Act which states that “any person who is guilty of an offence under this Part (Part iv) of the Corrupt Practices Act shall be liable to imprisonment for a term of twelve years,” said Ndala.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :