A SOLWEZI social welfare officer has been jailed 12 months with hard labour for corrupt practices while his co-accused, a former Solwezi magistrate Henry Aongola, has been acquitted.
Acting Kabwe Chief Resident Magistrate John Mbuzi, sitting in Solwezi, convicted Clifford Hamilandu who was charged with one count of corrupt practices.
Magistrate Mbuzi said he was satisfied that Hamilandu did receive K2,000 as cash gratification from Joyce Nyondo, the mother of an accused boy who was to appear before Magistrate Aongola.
The court said it was established that Hamilandu was caught red-handed receiving money from Nyondo at Bestways by the Anti-Corruption Commission officers during an arranged surveillance operation.
Magistrate Mbuzi said Hamilandu told ACC officers during a warn and caution statement that he represented Nyondo’s son in a criminal case as a probation officer earlier before Magistrate Aongola, after which he asked for money to enable him to travel to the Copperbelt and that was the money he received.
Later Hamilandu said the money he collected was for the plot he was selling to Nyondo.
But he later changed the statement and said he was receiving the money on behalf of Magistrate Aongola, a matter the State could not substantiate against the magistrate.
“I find the versions of evidence over the money he received from Nyondo as not corroborating but suspicious and afterthoughts. I am also at pains trying to grapple with what was in Hamilandu’s mind when he gave the statement and what he told the court because both are part of evidence,” Mr Mbuzi said.
The court found Hamilandu guilty as charged and convicted him accordingly effective April 26, 2016.
Particulars of the offence were that Hamilandu on a date unknown but between 1 April, 2011 and 30 April 2011, corruptly received K2,000 cash gratification from Nyondo as an inducement or reward for him to pervert the course of justice for her son who was facing a criminal charge.
In acquitting Aongola, Magistrate Mbuzi said he was not satisfied beyond all doubt that the charge against his fellow magistrate had been proved by the State and therefore found him innocent and acquitted him.
“It is unthinkable and doubtful that Aongola could have received K5,000 from Nyondo as inducement because there was no prior agreement for any particular case to be given to a trial or allocating magistrate,” Mr Mbuzi said.
The magistrate said he found Nyondo and her sister suspect witnesses who could reasonably have had their own interest to serve in giving false evidence against Magistrate Aongola.
Magistrate Mbuzi said he was suspicious of Nyondo because she was a petitioner before Magistrate Aongola’s court in 2009 where her matter was dismissed and that her son was also convicted before the same court.
“I therefore find Aongola not guilty and acquit him forthwith,” Mr Mbuzi said.
In the case of Aongola, the court heard that between 1st April 2011 and 30th April 2011 , the former magistrate while acting together with Hamilandu and Charles Mutale, both social welfare officers, allegedly received K5,000 cash gratification from Nyondo as an inducement or reward for themselves to pervert the course of justice in a criminal case concerning Justine Lukanga, Nyondo’s son, a matter or transaction concerning the Judiciary, a public body.