..No single conviction made in three years…
A scandal has been exposed in Zambia where the judiciary and the National Prosecutions Authority (NPA) prosecutors have been conniving to free foreign suspects arrested for Automated Teller Machines (ATM) related thefts involving huge sums of money.
The latest are now two Chinese suspects who fled the country after being granted bail by the courts. The two are alleged to have stolen over K3.5 million from various bank accounts and were arrested in Lusaka in August this year. They did not turn up in court on this and a manhunt has been launched.
Since the upswing of ATM thefts about three years ago over 25 cases have been prosecuted in Zambia with no single conviction made. Most of the suspects are foreigners who free Zambia once granted bail by the judiciary and the NPA officials. The big question is on why the courts keep granting suspects bail despite objections from the police, the Drug Enforcements Commission (DEC) and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
A whistle blower, Cosmas Chailinga, who reported some of these ATM thefts to Zambian agents such as the police, the DEC and ACC have cautioned and called for cleansing of the NPA and Judiciary.
It has been established that all ATM fraud cases in Zambia involve foreign nationals. One however wonders why they manage to get bail in the courts of law when most of them have no fixed residence. Some of the suspects are even convicts and served sentences as Prohibited Immigrants (P.Is).
Two days ago, the two Chinese were expected to appear in court before Magistrate Sylvia Munyinya but they didn’t. The court was later informed by the prosecutor that the suspects had disappeared and could not be traced.
The fleeing of suspects by the judiciary and the prosecuting authority is a clear sign of lack of patriotism that some people have reached.
Stakeholder now feel that this syndicate is a direct affront to the justice system in the country as criminals especially those with money will continue terrorizing and stealing money through ATM and get back their freedom by bribing the courts and prosecutors.
It is really a question of patriotism on the judicial worker and the prosecutors.
Early this year, two court officials were arrested for aiding the escape from lawful custody of four foreigners accused of ATM fraud and theft. The matter was however not prosecuted for unknown reasons.