By LUCY PHIRI
Former Ministry of Education Permanent Secretary Dr Patrick Nkanza has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes court to charge him separately with former Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba and five others on grounds that his charge is not in relation with the FTJ Chiluba University.
Nkanza is jointly charged with Yamba, former Ministry of Higher Education Permanent Secretary Owen Mugemezulu and former Ministry of Education employees, Joseph Nthele, Joseph Phiri and Joseph Ngulube.
The charges are in relation to the infamous FTJ Chiluba University, under the Ministry of Higher Education.
When the case came up for plea yesterday, before Chief Resident Magistrate Davies Chibwili, Nkanza through his lawyer said his count has nothing to do with the FTJ case that he is jointly charged with, he said the charge should be quashed.
The defence urged that Nkanza should not appear on a charge sheet because his charge is different from other accused persons he is charged with.
“In the provisions of 136 of the criminal procedure code, which is instructing that if two or more accused persons appear in one charge it should be in relation, the charge sheet shows the contract of the third accused is different from the rest, it indicates that the contract raised is different and particulars of the third accused are not in relation to FTJ university,’’ defence submitted.
The defence further submitted that the court should quash the charge for the third accused person and pray that the court orders a separate trial.
The question is, if the transactions are different can they be jointly charged?
It is alleged in the third count that Nkanza between January 14, 2015 and December 31, 2015, being Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, did willfully fail to comply with Section 54(2)(d)of Public Procurement Act No. 12 of 2008 being the applicable law relating to procurement in entering into a contract with China Energy Engineering Group-Hunan Electric Power Design Institute Co. Ltd worth K213,734,967.77 without confirming the availability of funds.
The six accused persons took fresh plea and pleaded not guilty after the state being represented by Edwin Mbewe submitted a substituted indictment.
The court has set December 6, 2022 for ruling and possible trial.