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Ex-ZAF commander jailed 5 years

FOMER ZAF Commander Lieutenant General Andrew Sakala (center) taken to prison after being sentenced at the Lusaka magistrate court yesterday-.Picture ANGELA MWENDA.

JIMMY CHIBUYE, Magistrates’ Court Lusaka
FORMER Zambia Air Force (ZAF) commander Andrew Sakala has been sentenced to five years imprisonment with hard labour for theft of K1.5 million public funds.
High Court deputy registrar in charge of local courts Wilfred Muma, sitting as principal resident magistrate, jailed Sakala yesterday saying the offence of theft by public servant is a serious one which attracts a custodial sentence.
On Monday, Mr Muma convicted Sakala after finding him guilty of theft involving K1.5 million while his co-accused, former Zambia Army commander Wisdom Lopa and former Zambia National Service (ZNS) commandant Anthony Yeta, were acquitted of the same charge.
“Government has lost a lot of resources in a similar fashion perpetuated by other offenders and there is need to deter would-be offenders from engaging in such activities.
“Having said that, I, therefore, sentence the convict to five years imprisonment with hard labour with effect from October 6, 2014 when he was convicted. I rest my sentence,” Mr Muma said.
He said Sakala has the right to appeal to the High Court if he feels the sentence is erroneous in law and fact.
In mitigation, Sakala’s lawyer, Nganga Yalenga, said Sakala sacrificed a lot and contributed to the smooth transition of power from the MMD to Patriotic Front (PF) after the 2011 general elections.
Mr Yalenga said Sakala is remorseful and the court should consider giving him a non-custodial sentence like a suspended jail term.
He said Sakala is a married man who has a lot of dependants and sending him to jail will deprive his family of their sole breadwinner.
On bail pending appeal, Muma said he was “spooked” when Mr Yalenga told him that he had filed a notice of appeal in the High Court against conviction on Tuesday.
He said it was not correct for Mr Yalenga to file notice of appeal against conviction before sentencing was passed.
Mr Muma said the application for bail pending appeal will be stayed until Mr Yalenga files fresh notices of appeal in the High Court.

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