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Zambian ex-air force chief jailed for graft

10 October 2014, 14:32

Lusaka - Zambia's former air force commander Andrew Sakala was Friday jailed for five years with hard labour after he was convicted of graft.

Sakala was found guilty of pocketing around a quarter of a million dollars that was earmarked for covert security ahead of 2011 elections.

In handing down the sentence in Lusaka, Magistrate Wilfred Muma said Sakala needed to be punished as the state had lost resources because of his act.

"I have considered the mitigation and I therefore sentence the convict to five years imprisonment with hard labour," Muma said.

However, the former high ranking official escaped the maximum sentence of 15 years.

His co-accused Zambia Army commander Wisdom Lopa and Anthony Yeta of the Zambia National Service were earlier found innocent of the same charges.

In his mitigation, Sakala's lawyer Nganga Yalenga said the former a commander was remorseful and had "worked hard to ensure that there was a peaceful transition of power from the Movement for Multiparty Democracy to the Patriotic Front in the last elections".

Several former government officials, including former president Rupiah Banda, are being prosecuted for corruption since President Michael Sata came to power in 2011.



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