Friday, February 27, 2015 1:26 pm
Zambia’s former mines minister Maxwell Mwale was sentenced to one year in jail with hard labour today after being convicted of corruption in the award of licences to a Chinese mining company in 2009.
Mwale, a former cabinet minister in Africa’s second-largest copper producer, was found guilty of interfering in the granting of licences to Zhonghui International Mining Group.
“Abuses of authority by public officers have become rampant and need to be stopped,” said Magistrate Lameck Mwale while handing down the sentence.
Prosecution witnesses in the trial testified that with the minister’s influence, the Chinese firm was awarded the licences within three days when such a process normally lasted months.
Zhonghui was jointly charged with Mwale for paying customs duties amounting to over 400,000 kwacha ($57,637) to clear 5,000 bicycles which the minister’s company imported from China in 2011.
The magistrate found Zhonghui had no case to answer. Zhonghui was not immediately available to comment.