29 January 2013

Zambia: Three Education Officers Acquitted

THREE Kitwe District Education Board officers charged with theft by public servant have been acquitted by a Kitwe magistrate's court.

Magistrate Maxwell Mainsa acquitted the three officials due to insufficient and unreliable evidence.

Douglas Lungu, 31, an accounts assistant, Jennipher Phiri, 55, a district education standards officer and Lloyd Chikumo, 38, an accounts assistant were charged with theft by public servant involving KR 423,568.

Particulars of the offence were that the trio between January 15, 2009 and September 2009 allegedly stole KR423, 468, from the Ministry of Education.

In his ruling on Friday, Mr Mainsa said the forensic audit which revealed the embezzling of funds was hearsay because the companies and individuals through which the funds were alleged to have been stolen were not summoned to testify in court.

He said the credibility of the witnesses was not tested through cross-examination and, therefore, it would be dangerous to rely on such evidence.

Mr Mainsa said the missing documents at the Kitwe District Education Board offices could not completely be attributed to the accused persons because they were hounded out of office before they could handover.

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