THE Chipata Magistrates’s Court on Friday convicted William Zulu, the coordinator of the Inonge Wina Women Development Association, for theft of fertilizer. Zulu, 54, of Mulamba village in chief Mishoro’s area was charged with theft of 1, 071 by 50 kilogramme bags of top dressing fertilizer worth over K332,000 meant for the association.
The prosecution called eleven witnesses to prove its case while Zulu did not call any when put on his defence.
Earlier in his defence, Zulu said the fertilizer that he was alleged to have stolen was actually given to the farmers as loan.
“I never stole the fertilizer, even the witnesses didn’t indicate that I stole the fertilizer. What I know is that the fertilizer was taken to the farmers and what is remaining is to recover the loans. The recovery has delayed because I am here and I am the one who is supposed to do the recoveries. The over 1,000 bags of fertilizer is a lot, where can I take it? Now because I am a politician, that’s why people are saying this issue is political. I joined PF in 2002 and I have finished MMD in Kasenengwa,”
said Zulu in his defence.
But in his judgment that took over two hours, resident magistrate Boniface Mwala said the prosecution had proved its case beyond any reasonable.
Magistrate Mwala said the evidence from all the eleven prosecution witnesses was interlinked. He said the convict did not fair well in cross examination apart from complaining that he was politically targeted because he was a politician.
“I did not see any spirited rebuttal from the accused person apart from saying he was targeted because he was a politician. What you should know is that the law is not selective. Even politicians, they are also amenable to the same law,”
said magistrate Mwala before adjourning the matter to November 24 for mitigation and sentencing.
The accused was granted a K10, 000 cash bail with two working sureties’ from reputable organizations in the sum of K30,000 in their own recognizance in August but failed to meet bail conditions and remained in custody.