MUSICIAN Danny Mwikisa, popularly known as ‘Danny Peddle’, and three others have been acquitted by the Lusaka High Court of allegedly stealing over KR26, 000 (K26 million).
Mwikisa, who was employed as a disc jockey at Radio Phoenix , the radio station’s general manager Naomi Chilombo, sales representative Nathan Pemba and businessman Leslie Mulemena were sentenced to four years by the Lusaka Magistrate Court in 2010 for theft of KR26, 076 (K26, 076, 000).
Mwikisa, Chilombo and Pemba, while employed at Radio Phoenix in June 2007, with intent to defraud their employer, allegedly made an advertising contract for the radio station.
Mulemena was jailed for theft of money belonging to Radio Phoenix amounting to KR26, 076.
The four appealed against the conviction and a four-year jail term imposed on them by resident magistrate Mwaka Mikalile was overturned last Friday on grounds that she erred in law.
Delivering judgement in Lusaka, High Court judge Chalwe Mchenga said the essential ingredient of the offence of theft, fraudulent misappropriation by any of the four was not proved.
“Having found that the theft was not proved, I do not find it necessary to deal with issues pertaining to the lifting of the veil, common purpose, the credit facility and whether the third appellant (Pemba) was an employee of the radio station.
“These are matters that could have come into issue had the theft been proved. The appeals by each and all the appellants are allowed, their convictions are quashed and the sentences are set aside,” Mr Mchenga said.
He said the four were convicted solely on the basis that they were the directors of the company Afri Rhythms Promotions, which was paid money that never reached the radio station, the intended payee.
The judge said no evidence was produced to establish that the four participated in the running of Afri Rhythm Promotions on its account.
Mr Justice Mchenga said the evidence which was presented and accepted by magistrate Mikalile against the four was general.
And Mwikisa said in a statement that justice had finally prevailed in the matter because going to court for six years had been stressful.
“Thank God for this victory. Finally, justice has come through and I am so relieved… going to court for six years is not an easy thing.
“I must also take this opportunity to thank everyone who was by my side during this difficult period,” he said.