By Aliko Munde, MANA
Victor Gondwe, defence lawyer for Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Regional Governor for the North, Rev. Christopher Mzomera Ngwira has hinted that he has been instructed to appeal the four-year imprisonment sentence he was given after being found guilty of abuse of public office.
Gondwe, of John Tennyson and Associates, said his client instructed him to appeal for both the conviction and the sentencing.
“We are not satisfied with the sentence and even the conviction of the case. We are going to appeal to the high court,” he said.
While serving as Member of Parliament for Mzimba Hola Constituency, Ngwira influenced the awarding of a contract towards the construction of teachers houses Lukwelukwe Primary School using Local Development Fund (LDF).
The contract was awarded to Louis Mtonga of Taonga Shopping Centre in Mzimba when the duty to do so was to have been done by the Project Management Committee (PMC).
He is alleged to have withdrawn K650,000 from the project’s coffers after coaxing PMC members to put their signatures on a blank withdrawal slip and later put the said amount on the slip on his own.
Senior Resident Magistrate, Matthews Msiska said Mzomera Ngwira was supposed to lead as an example since the community looks up to him, not just as a public officer but being a reverend as well.
“Being a public officer, the convict would have promoted transparency and accountability in his dealings,” he said.
Msiska sentenced Ngwira to 48 months imprisonment with hard labour effective when bail was revoked.
State Prosecutor, Anti-Corruption Bureau Director of Legal and Prosecution, Chrispin Khunga expressed satisfaction with the conviction and sentence.
Notable DPP figures present in solidarity during the sentencing included the Party’s Vice-president for the South and Leader of Opposition, Kondwani Nankhumwa, Jappie Mhango and Simon Vuwa Kaunda.