The Lusaka High Court has upheld the conviction of former Ministry of Health Chief Human Resource Development Officer, Henry Kapoko, Zukas Musonda Kaoma and Evaristo Musaba for theft, theft by public servant and money laundering involving over K6 million. Two others namely Jasper Justine Phiri an accountant and Vincent Luhana an Internal Auditor have been acquitted.
This follows an appeal by Kapoko and the four named above in 2018 against the conviction and sentence after the Lusaka Magistrate’s Court found them guilty of theft and money laundering. They were subsequently sentenced to five years for theft, nine years each for money laundering and a further nine years each for theft by public servant. The Magistrate Court ordered that the sentences for money laundering and theft by public servant were to run consecutively which meant that they were to serve a total of 18 years in prison.
On appeal, the High Court presided by three judges namely Hon. Justice Chisunka, Hon. Lady Justice C.L. Phiri and Hon Lady Justice Chibbabbuka found that the trial Court properly convicted Henry Mulenga Kapoko, Zukas Musonda Kaoma and Evaristo Musaba as the prosecution had proved all the elements of the offences charged beyond all reasonable doubt. The High Court therefore upheld the convictions on the counts of theft, theft by public servant and money laundering.
The High Court has however, found that there was no evidence proving the charges against Jasper Justine Phiri and Vincent Luhana and subsequently acquitted them, setting them free.
On the sentencing employed by the Magistrate’s Court, the High Court found that the consecutive sentence imposed was wrong in principle and consequently, replaced it with a concurrent sentence which subsequently reduced the term to be served from 18 years to 9 years.
With respect to the statutory judgement and the forfeiture orders against Henry Mulenga Kapoko, Zukas Musonda Kaoma and Evaristo Musaba, the High Court found that the appeal lacked merit and consequently dismissed it. This means that the forfeited properties from Kapoko, Kaoma and Musaba will be retained by the State and that the process of recovering the stolen K6million from the three convicts will proceed accordingly.
Meanwhile, the Court allowed the appeal relating to Kapoko’s ownership of a Toyota Lexus Registration number 2336 and subsequently ordered that he is given back the vehicle.
Kapoko and four others were in 2009 arrested by the Anti-Corruption Commission.