3 May 2012

Zambia: Musengule, Sibande Denied Bail

THE Lusaka High Court has rejected a bail application by incarcerated former Zambia Army commander, Geojago Musengule and his co-accused person, Amon Sibande.

Musengule and Sibande's appeal against a four and three-year jail sentence, respectively were upheld by the High Court and have since appealed to the Supreme Court.

A panel of three High Court judges; Florence Lengalenga, Elita Mwikisa and suspended Charles Kajimanga, dismissed Musengule and Sibanda's application for bail, pending appeal on grounds that it could not succeed.

The ruling was made before Mr Justice Kajimanga was suspended by President Michael Sata on Monday.

Musengule and Sibande were facing charges of abuse of office of authority and corruptly inducing a public officer.

"This is not a proper case where the court could exercise leniency and grant the applicants bail pending appearance.

"In our considered opinion, the application is not likely to proceed in the Supreme Court. The duo will have served a substantial part of the sentence before the appeal is heard," they said in a judgement delivered last week.

The duo was jailed on seven counts of abuse of authority of office, corrupt practices by a public officer and corrupt practices with a public officer contrary to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Act Number 42 of 1996.

Musengule had submitted that his appeal might succeed in the Supreme Court.

He said he would suffer irreparable damage if the bail application was denied which could not adequately atone for by awards.

The judges dismissed the duo's grounds of appeal because they lacked merit.

The Lusaka magistrates' court jailed Musengule for four years, while Sibande was slapped with three years but the two decided to appeal against their conviction in the Lusaka High Court.

The Lusaka High Court upheld their convictions and said the magistrate's court was on firm grounds when it convicted them.

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