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Former Presidential Aide Amos Chanda convicted of stealing court record

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Amos Chanda, former Special Assistant to 6th Republican President Dr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, was convicted on charges of stealing and destroying a court record. The verdict was delivered on Friday, May 10th 2023, by Lusaka Senior Magistrate, Ireen Wishimanga, marking an end to a rather dramatic sequence of events.
Chanda’s conviction stems from his act of stealing and destroying a court record between May 12, 2020, and October 1, 2022. The stolen record pertained to a case involving Chanda, alongside Walid El Nahas, who was former Intelligent Mobility Solutions (IMS) board chairman and Zindaba Soko, former RTSA chief executive officer. The trio faced 2 counts of Corrupt Practices with a Public Officer, contrary to Section 19 (2) of the Anti-Corruption Act No. 3 of 2012, 2 counts of corrupt Practices by a Public Officer, contrary to Section 19 (1) of the Ant-Corruption Act No. 3 of 2012 and 2 counts of Possession of Property Reasonably Suspected of being Proceeds of Crime, contrary to Section 71 of the Forfeiture of Proceeds of Crime Act No. 19 of 2010 of the Laws of Zambia. The case involved the corrupt award of a contract to Intelligent Mobility Solutions Limited and by the Road Transport and Safety Agency for the provision of Advanced Road Safety Solutions and Services. The case was commonly referred to as the RTSA speed camera corruption case.

That matter against the three accused persons was, however, discontinued by way of a nolle prosequi entered by former Director of Public Prosecutions. The discontinuation of the case was preceded by a plea agreement reached between the former DPP on one hand and the trio on the other hand. As part of that plea agreement, it was settled that the sum of Four Hundred Thousand United States Dollars (USD400,000.00) would be forfeited to the State by Walid El Nahas while Chanda would forfeit to the State USD110,000 and in exchange for this forfeiture, the three were granted absolute immunity from prosecution, a condition that underpinned the entire agreement

Thereafter, payments to liquidate the US$400,000.00 and the US$110, 000.00 began to be made but after only UD$45,000 of the amounts was paid to the State, a plot to erase any trace of the three’s legal entanglements was hatched. The decision to steal and destroy the court record – a good crucial piece of evidence – was possibly a calculated move to evade accountability and escape the consequences of their actions. However, the attempt to erase the proceedings did not go unnoticed as officers from the Drug Enforcement Commission uncovered it. The officers arrested and charged Chanda with the two counts after their investigations into the matter were concluded.

Lead prosecutor on the theft and destruction of evidence case, Mrs. Yvonne Banda flanked by public prosecutor Mr. Makasa Mwansa played decisive roles in ensuring that justice prevailed. Despite facing a case built mainly on circumstantial evidence, they diligently argued their case and successfully crafted a narrative that moved the evidence beyond conjecture and allowed it to attain a level of cogency that left no room for doubt. Their artful prosecution navigated the complexities of the case, putting together evidence to paint a compelling picture of guilt. Their dedication ensured that the former Special Assistant to a Republican President faced accountability for his actions.

In her judgment, Magistrate Wishimanga emphasised the gravity of Chanda’s actions, stating, “I find the prosecution has proved their case beyond all reasonable doubt and I convict him accordingly.” She further highlighted the suspicious nature of Chanda’s intricate knowledge of the stolen court record, questioning, “How did the accused know the number of pages that the court record had and how did he know that it was handwritten? Whatever record the accused took, it was still an offence.”
In count one, Chanda was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment with hard labour for stealing the court record, contrary to section 272 of the Penal Code, chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia and in count 2 he was fined K5,000 or, in default of payment, an additional three months simple imprisonment. This verdict serves as a reminder that no one is above the law, and that justice will always prevail in the end.

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