Court clears Lubinda of corruption

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THE Economic and Financial Crimes Court has declared that former minister of Justice Given Lubinda is blameless of corruption.

Magistrate Stanford Ngobola has acquitted Lubinda of four counts of possessing property suspected to be proceeds of crime, on reasons that the State failed to prove that he engaged in crime.

In this case, Lubinda was accused of illegally obtaining US$230,000 from a Chinese company and using part of the money to acquire land in Kingsland City.

Allegations in the first count are that Lubinda on March 3,2018 received US$50,000 from China Africa Cotton Limited suspected to be proceeds of crime.

In the second count Lubinda is on February 2,2019 alleged to have received US$100,000 from Qingdao Ruichang Cotton Industrial Company limited suspected to be proceeds of crime.

Lubinda is in the third cound alleged to have received US$80,000 on December 23,2019 from Qingdao Ruichang Cotton Industrial Company limited suspected to be proceeds of crime.

And in the fourth count it is alleged that Lubinda on March 15,2019 disposed of US$50,000 which was suspected to be dirty money to Sunshare Investment as part payment towards the purchase of a plot property no. C1,56 at Kingsland City in Lusaka.

In his defense, Lubinda explained that the US$230,000 he was accused of illegally obtaining was part of the $300, 000 lent to him by Qiwngdao Ruichang Cotton Industrial Company limited for the construction of boarding houses near Apex University.

In his judgement, magistrate Ngobola said the prosecution did not produce the memorandum of understanding signed between Lubinda on behalf of the ministry of agriculture and China Africa Cotton Limited for the revival of Mulungushi textiles.

“I note that the prosecution didn’t produce the MOU in trial which I find odd,”magistrate Ngobola said.

“The State are the custodians of the document in issue and they instead produced a newspaper article. In my view, there is no way the State can rely on a newspaper article reporting an incident. The maker on the statement was not called as a witness. A statement made by someone who is not a witness is hearsay.”

He said the article by Times of Zambia was based on hearsay and devoid of value in the absence of the author of the report having not been summoned to Court.

“All the above evidence shows that the memorandum of understanding did not exist,”magistrate Ngobola said.

“The conclusion becomes irresistible that the funds that were received through Lubinda’s dollar account were not proceeds of crime. they were in respect of a loan facility. It is my considered view that the accused has given a credible explanation.”

He said the US$50, 000 paid towards the purchase of a house in Kingsland City was not tainted property.

Magistrate Ngobola said reasonable suspicion has not been proven in all the counts and he is not satisfied that enough evidence was produced in all the counts to make the suspicion reasonable.

“I find that the prosecution has failed to discharge the burden of proving the ingredients of the offense charged in all the four counts for the balance of probabilities and I find the accused not guilty in all the four counts of the offense of being in possession of property suspected of being proceeds of crime,”ordered magistrate Ngobola.

“The accused is acquitted accordingly.”

By Mwaka Ndawa

Kalemba April 18, 2024.

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