PRISCILLA CHIPULU, Lusaka
FORMER Zambia Red Cross Society (ZRCS) secretary general Charles Mushitu, finance director Sydney Chituta and chairperson Kelvin Chiposwa have been acquitted in charges of abuse of authority of office and destroying evidence.
Particulars of the matter are that Mushitu, Chituta and Chiposwa, on dates unknown but between July 1, 2011 and February 8, 2012 in Lusaka, being persons employed in the public service, abused the authority of their offices by applying a sum of K67,000 (rebased) meant for orphans and vulnerable children in Sesheke and Kazungula districts.
In the second count, Mushitu and Chituta, on dates unknown, but between July 2, 2011 and February 19, 2012 in Lusaka, allegedly destroyed accounting documents which showed how they misapplied funds used at ZRCS, contrary to the Laws of Zambia.
But delivering judgement on Thursday, chief resident magistrate Aridah Chulu acquitted the trio due to insufficient evidence.
Magistrate Chulu said the evidence from the prosecution witness showed that the money in question was borrowed by ZRCS to save the institution from total collapse due to its heavy indebtedness.
Magistrate Chulu said the three could not be held liable because their action was meant to save the institution from total collapse.
She also said the evidence of arresting officer Hussein Khan from the Drug Enforcement Commi s s ion (DEC) was conflicting the one from all the 10 witnesses.
And in the second count of destroying evidence, magistrate Chulu said there was evidence from three witnesses that the documents in question were collected by DEC officers during investigations.
“It’s clear that the documents were handed over to the investigator and it would therefore be dangerous to find that Mushitu and Chituta destroyed or removed the documents.
“ I therefore find that the prosecution has failed to sufficiently prove the counts against the accused persons. All the accused persons are acquitted forthwith,” she said.
And Mr Mushitu said his acquittal should be a lesson to all those serving as chief executive officers that the very people they think are their confidants will one day turn and testify against them in the courts of law.