Graft lands ex-mines minister in jail

2015-02-28 09:52

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Lusaka - Zambia's former mines minister Maxwell Mwale on Friday was jailed for a year on graft charges linked to the irregular issuing of a mining licence to a Chinese firm in 2009.

Mwale was arrested in 2012 during an anti-corruption crackdown launched by the late president Michael Sata.

The prosecution said while he was mines minister, Mwale issued a mining licence to China's Zhonghui International Mining Group within three days of application, when such a process normally takes several months.

Mwale, who is in his 60s, served under former president Rupiah Banda between 2008 and 2011.

Corruption charges

The court decided on a custodial sentence because corruption was on the rise in Zambia.

"I note that cases of abuse of authority of office have become rampant and as a court we will be failing in our duties if we do not put deterrent measures [in place]," said magistrate Lameck Mwale.

"Mwale should serve 12 months imprisonment with hard labour with effect from the date of conviction," said the magistrate.

Since the ruling Patriotic Party came to power in the 2011 elections, several high profile Zambian politicians have been arrested, including former president Banda and ex-diplomats, mainly on corruption charges.

Read more on:    southern africa  |  corruption  |  zambia  |  mining

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