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03 Mar 2009 11:26
Former Zambian army commander Geojago Musengule has been sent to prison for four years for corruption and abuse of power, state-run media said on Tuesday.
Musengule, who served under former president Frederick Chiluba, was convicted on Monday along with Base Chemicals chief executive Amon Sibande over dubious fuel supply contracts with the army, the Times of Zambia reported.
The general was convicted on multiple counts for a total sentence of 16 years, but was allowed to serve his terms concurrently. Sibande was sentenced to a total of seven years, but will actually spend three behind bars, the paper said.
Magistrate Liya Tembo said Musengula had failed to act responsibly with taxpayers’ money in securing the fuel contracts.
“He should have been mindful that he was dealing with public funds and ensured that he conducted himself in an exemplary manner as Zambians sacrificed their tax monies,” Tembo said, according to the paper.
Musengule is the third top military official recently sentenced to prison over corruption charges, as part of a wide-ranging investigation into graft.
Chiluba is also on trial for corruption, as is his wife Regina, whose trial is expected to wrap up on Tuesday.
Chiluba ruled Zambia from 1991 until 2001 when he retired from politics, after which his hand-picked successor Levy Mwanawasa turned against him, accusing his mentor of widespread corruption.
Mwanawasa died following a stroke last year, but new President Rupiah Banda’s government has pushed ahead with the cases.—Sapa-AFP
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