THE Zambia Correctional Service (ZCS) has confirmed the early release of former Finance minister Dr Katele Kalumba from prison.
Dr Kalumba who also once served as health minister in the MMD-led government over 20 years ago was along with three others namely former Access Financial Services directors Aaron Chungu and Faustin Kabwe along with former permanent secretary in the then Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Stella Chibanda were convicted for corruption and handed five year jail terms by then Lusaka Magistrate Edward Musona on May 26, 2010.
However winding appeal applications only ended last December with the Court of Appeal upholding the convictions and sentences.
Their conviction arose from the payment of US$20 million made to US security companies Systems Innovation and Wilbain Incorporation involving US$20 during the time Kalumba served as finance minister in the MMD under the leadership of second republican president late Fredrick Chiluba.
Prior to his arrest on January 15, 2003, Kalumba gave law enforcement officers a run for their money as he eluded them using charms by monitoring their moves on a ‘traditional’ computer.
Seven months down his sentence, the ZCS announced that Dr Kalumba has been released on health grounds.
In a statement issued by the ZCS, head of public relation, Gillian Namungala, the circumstances of their release was stated.
“Dr. Katele Kalumba (70), Richard Muchaka (59), Namoonda Nawa (22), and Lloyd Njiko (56) were released from Kamfinsa and Lusaka Central Prisons/Correctional Centres on medical grounds pursuant to the Zambia Correctional Service Act No 37 section 77(1) of 2021 of the Laws of Zambia.”
The release was sanctioned by the Commissioner General with approval from the Minister, following the recommendation of a health practitioner, in line with the provisions of the ZCS Act.
The statement clarified that the four individuals had been grappling with various health issues, necessitating multiple hospital visits from the time of their admission to the correctional centres.
Dr Kalumba, who was incarcerated in December last year, had experienced deteriorating health during his time in custody.
He had been frequently seeking treatment at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) for a range of health complications, including heart failure and a spinal injury.
In February of this year, his health took a severe hit, leading to an extended stay at UTH until his eventual release.
By Moses Makwaya
Kalemba August 8, 2023