Zambia: Three Plead Not Guilty in K1.5 Billion Livingstone Prison Case

TWO Government officers and a director of Choice Build Limited have pleaded not guilty to seven counts of abuse of authority of office, corrupt practices and theft involving more than K1.5 billion.

Emmanuel Ng'uni, 53, Mwala Katundu, 33, and Yolomino Mbewe all pleaded not guilty to charges relating to rehabilitation works at Livingstone Central Prison.

They appeared before Lusaka Resident Magistrate Lameck Mwale yesterday.

Katundu, a quantity surveyor in the Ministry of Works and Supply Buildings Department is in the first count charged with abuse of authority of office.

Between January 1, 2009 and May 11, last year, Katundu is alleged to have abused the authority of his office by certifying that rehabilitation works at the prison were fully done when in fact not.

Ng'uni, an assistant director, monitoring and evaluation at the Ministry of Home Affairs is in the second count charged with corrupt practices by a public officer.

It is alleged that Ng'uni, between December 1, 2009 and January 30, 2010, corruptly received K5 million cash gratification as a reward from Mbewe for having helped in the award of a contract to Choice Build Ltd and for having facilitated the payment of K869, 444, 488.71 for the rehabilitation works at Livingstone Prison.

Mbewe is in the third count alleged to have corruptly given Ng'uni K5 million as an inducement for having helped his company win a contract and for facilitating the payment of K869, 444,488.71 for repairs at Livingstone Prison.

Ng'uni is in the fourth count charged with directing a total amount of K700 million to be paid to the company without following laid down procedures.

He is further in count five charged with corruptly receiving K86 million from Mbewe for having facilitated the payment of alleged extra works at Livingstone Prison amounting to K700 million.

Mbewe is in the sixth count charged with corrupt practices with a public officer.

It is alleged that Mbewe, between May 1, 2011 and May 31, 2011, corruptly gave K86 million to Ng'uni for having facilitated payment for the alleged extra works at Livingstone Prison amounting to K700 million, which works were in fact not done.

Ng'uni and Mbewe are in the seventh count alleged to have o between May1, 2011 and May 31, 2011 stolen K700 million by purporting that the money was used for extra works at Livingstone Prison when in fact not.

Choice Build Ltd was in 2009 contracted by the Government to rehabilitate Livingstone Central Prison at a contract sum of K3.4 billion.

However, by the end of the contract, it was found that the works were incomplete and the Government had paid K4.1 billion which included the unapproved K700 million.

The magistrate has set December 12, this year as the date for commencement of trial.

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