RENOWNED gospel singer Prince Siame, accused of stealing clothes and other items valued at K43,000 belonging to the operations manager of a non-governmental organization known as Mission Touch Church where he was one of the board members, has been acquitted by the Lusaka Magistrates Court.
Siame was charged with one count of theft contrary to section 272 of the laws of Zambia.
He was alleged to have on August 12, 2014 stolen various items valued at K43,125 the property of David Murray Keatings of the same church.
In her judgment, Magistrate Kunda Tantameni said if the arresting officer in the matter had conducted a thorough investigation he ‘‘could have actually preserved the court’s time from the genesis’’. Ms Tantameni said the term ‘’theft was to permanently deprive the owner of his goods’’ but in that case there was no such intention as the witnesses all confirmed in their evidence.
She added that the witnesses confirmed that the clothes were given as a means of payment to one of the workers as his benefits. The accused even gave some of his own property as a way of meeting the totality of those payments to the worker.
Ms Tantameni said she had placed her emphasis on the arresting officer because he was told by the accused the reasons why he gave away the clothes.
She added that Siame never objected to having his home searched and also many, if not all, the items were returned to the complainant.
The magistrate said if the arresting officer genuinely felt that Siame had stolen the items, why did he not charge the worker and any other recipient of the stolen items with possession of stolen goods?
She said the worker was fully aware that those items did not belong to Siame and was also aware as to the circumstances under which he was receiving those goods.
Earlier in his defence, Siame denied stealing the clothes, saying he gave them to one of the employees of the NGO who was not paid his terminal benefits by Mr Keatings who left the country in a hurry in fear of being arrested on allegations of irregularities in the NGO.