Court acquits former permanent secretary

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FORMER Southern Province permanent secretary Edwin Zumbunu has been acquitted by the Livingstone Magistrate’s Court on a charge of willful failure to comply with applicable procedure.
This is in a case in which Mr Zumbunu, 40, of 1448 Palm Drive, Chelstone, Lusaka, was charged yesterday with willful failure to comply with applicable procedures.
It is alleged that between May 1 and August 31, 2012, Mr Zumbunu while being a person employed in the public service as permanent secretary for Southern Province willfully failed to comply with applicable procedures relating to procurement.
It is stated that he approved a project to put up a wall fence at GRZ 1 Kanyanta Road, the residence for Southern Province minister, at a total sum of K195, 087.50.
In his judgment, Livingstone Resident Magistrate Chinkashi Chilingala said the prosecution has not led evidence to satisfy the court that the works which are the subject matter of the offence fell under any stages of procurement.
“When the an accused person pleaded not guilty to a criminal charge, he thereby casts upon the prosecution the burden of proving each and every ingredient of the offence charged,” Mr Chilingala said.
Mr Chilingala said the accused person was acting within his mandate as controlling officer when her approved the estimates cost of materials adding that there was nothing irregular in doing so.
“There is evidence that the provincial administration treated the construction of wall fence at the minister residence as a special case and one which needed immediate attention seeing that the project had no budget allocation in the yellow book and the use of the false account is justifiable,” he said.
Mr Chilingala said the prosecution needed to satisfy the court that the accused lacked authority to approve the requisition form.
“I am not satisfied that the prosecution has proved its case to the required standard I find the accused not guilty of the offence charged and I acquit him forth with,” he said.

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