FORMER Armcor managing director Mohammed Patel has been imprisoned for 28 months with hard labour for theft of 20 motor vehicles worth more than K2 million.
Patel bought the motor vehicles from Toyota Zambia using Armcor money but later fraudulently sold them and pocketed the money for his own benefit.
Chief resident magistrate Joshua Banda has since ordered that the vehicles which are marooned at Zambia Police headquarters be given back to the security company.
Mr Banda, however, acquitted Patel in the first three counts, saying the charges were not related to the matter.
He was facing 77 counts of theft by directors.
He said in his more than two hours judgment yesterday that there was everything wrong in the manner Patel, who was also a shareholder, instructed the purchase of the vehicles which he later sold without the approval of the board.
Mr Banda said the sale of motor vehicles by Patel was done without a board resolution.
Mr Banda said that the motor vehicle policy which Patel claimed gave him the right to benefit from the motor vehicles should have been effective in 2009 but Patel caused payment to be made before then.
“Therefore the above facts do not show honesty and transactions were marred with fraud and irregularities. I find the entire episode about how the vehicles were purchased and the subsequent happenings after their purchase, is marred with elements of fraud and dishonesty,” Mr Banda said.
Mr Banda said that there was theft on the part of Patel because he used company funds to purchase the motor vehicles which he sold, some at lower prices, for his personal benefit.
“The witnesses confirmed that when the vehicles were bought using company money and registered, they were shortly sold to private individuals and the money was given to the accused,” Mr Banda said.
He said the vehicles were company property and their disposal should have been by resolution of the board of directors.
Immediately after judgment was passed, Patel instructed his defence lawyer Lubinda Linyama to appeal against the conviction and sentence.
Times of Zambia