FORMER Deputy Minister Moses Muteteka convicted and jailed

Moses Muteteka

FORMER Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing Moses Muteteka has been convicted and jailed for five years with hard labour for stealing a Fuso truck belonging to his constituency.
Muteteka, 43, served under the MMD administration and is the former ruling party’s parliamentarian for Chisamba Constituency.
Muteteka’s wife, Naomi, and family members yesterday broke down at the Lusaka magistrate’s court after Lusaka Principal Magistrate Aridah Chuulu sentenced him.
“I have listened to what your defence counsel has stated. Indeed you are a first offender who deserves leniency, but my hands are very tied because of the mandatory sentence under the law.
“I, therefore, sentence you to five years imprisonment with hard labour with effect from today,” Ms Chuulu said.
She said the prosecution had proved its case against Muteteka because he deprived the people of Chibombo of benefiting from the vehicle which was bought using public funds.
Muteteka was facing one count of theft of a motor vehicle contrary to the law.
Particulars were that he on May 24, 2010 in Lusaka stole a motor vehicle namely, a Mitsubishi Fuso light truck valued at K75,000, the property of Chibombo District Council in Chisamba Constituency.
Muteteka registered the vehicle, registration number ABX 3529, in his name but defended his move by saying the people in his constituency had petitioned him to use his personal vehicle because it was more convenient than their constituency vehicle.
But Ms Chuulu said the parliamentarian should have known that the vehicle was bought using public funds and as such, it was wrong to change its ownership.
Ms Chuulu said by changing the ownership of the motor vehicle and subsequently keeping it at his residence, Muteteka deprived Chibombo District Council of its absolute ownership.
She said the fact that the vehicle was bought using public funds did not give Muteteka the right to change its ownership to please the people of his constituency because one could easily conclude that it was his vehicle since it was in his name.
Ms Chuulu said it was also clear that during the same period, Muteteka had both vehicles registered in his name until 2012 when the investigations started.
Muteteka had in his mitigation pleaded with the court to exercise maximum leniency because he had taken mitigatory steps to ensure that the people of Chibombo had access to the motor vehicle.
He said he was the breadwinner and an MP who had been providing services to the community.
Muteteka said severe punishment would have catastrophic consequences especially that a lengthy jail sentence may result in a by-election in his constituency.