Jail or freedom date set for ex-minister

Former Minister of Mines Maxwell Mwale will on August 29 know whether the Lusaka Magistrate’s Court will send him to jail or release him as a free man.

Magistrate Lameck Mwale yesterday reserved judgment to August 29 after Mwale and his co-accused Charles Shi closed their defence.

This is a case in which Mwale is alleged to have abused his authority of office by facilitating a mining licence to Zhongi Mining group Limited without following the laid down procedures.

Mwale is jointly charged with Shi, a director at the Chinese mining company, Zhongi Mining Group Limited.

The former minister is also accused of having abused  the authority of office by being in possession of 5,000 bicycles worth more than K1 million, property suspected to be proceeds of crime.

It is alleged in the first count that Mwale, between May 1, 2009 and August 31, 2011, abused the authority of his office by facilitating the issuance of a mining licence to Zhongi International Mining Industry Group Limited.

This was allegedly in breach of the procedure involved in the issuance of mining licences.In the second count, particulars are that between July 1 and August 31, 2011, Mwale allegedly imported 5,000 bicycles valued at more than K1 million suspected to be proceeds of crime.

The last defence witness Mr Janny  Shao said that when Zhongi Mining Group Limited came to Zambia, some chiefs from North-Western province signed an agreement with the company representative confirming an approval of the investment.

Mr Shao is Vice President of Zhongi Mining Group Limited.