By LUCY PHIRI
FORMER Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ) managing director, Samuel Bwalya has been sentenced to 15 months imprisonment with hard labor in a case he was facing twelve counts of abuse of authority involving more than involving K780, 000.
Bwalya aged 51, of Avondale, Lusaka had pleaded not guilty to abuse of authority of office contrary to Section 21 (1) (a) as read with Section 41 of the Anti-Corruption Act No. 3 of 2012.
Previously, magistrate Faides Hamaundu sitting under the economic and financial crimes court found Bwalya with a case to answer and had put him on his defense.
Bwalya in his defense, submitted that he was entitled to educational allowances and was also getting the same allowances his predecessor was getting as per contract.
However, when the matter came up yesterday for judgement, magistrate Hamaundu ruled that there was no evidence that was approved by legal and human resource department that he was qualified to have the educational allowances.
Magistrate Hamaundu further ruled that Bwalya abused the authority of his office in the manner he arbitrarily directed the payments of school fees for his children using public funds belonging to DBZ.
She further ruled that the act was prejudicial to the rights and interests of the Republic of Government, a matter or transaction that involved the said public body.
Ms. Hamaundu in her findings said Bwalya was not qualified to get the education allowance as claimed.
She also said the state prosecution had proved their case beyond reasonable doubt that Bwalya indeed abused his office.
“I have found out that as DBZ managing director, he signed a contract in April 2020, and through his course of duty he got the education allowance for his four children.
In count one he got K6,980, in count two K8116 and in the rest of the counts he got K8,420, K4,670, K6,840, K6,560, 10,924rands, K9,070 rand and 15,980 pounds,” she said.
Magistrate Hamaundu said the evidence from the prosecution was overwhelming and she found the accused guilty and convicted him accordingly.
In mitigation, Bwalya said he was a first offender who is married and have children.
“I’m a first offender and I am married with children, I’m asking for leniency from the court,” he submitted.
But the court said using public funds has become a concern and rampant to public service workers and its punishable by law.
“I have considered that you are a first offender and what you have said in mitigation, but since the money was recovered I will sentence you to 15months imprisonment with hard labor, and the sentence will run concurrently in all twelve counts, “ magistrate Hamaundu ruled.