Ex-ERB boss denies bribing officer

Judge Mallet; Hammer
Judge Mallet; Hammer

FORMER Energy Regulation Board chief executive officer Butler Sitali has denied corrupting a public officer at the board for him to access 46 documents to use against the institution in court.

This is in a matter in which Sitali, who is also a Lusaka lawyer, is charged with two counts of corrupt practices with a public officer contrary to the Laws of Zambia.

Details are that Sitali on dates unknown but between September 1 and 30, 2014, in Lusaka, engaged in corruption by offering K500 and K100 cash gratification and different instances to Emmanuel Mengo, an office assistant at the ERB, as a reward for having obtained documents.

It is alleged that Sitali wanted to obtain different documents from ERB which he had wanted to use to defend the Chamber of Mines, who were challenging ERB from increasing electricity tariffs for the mines.

Among the documents Sitali is alleged to have been looking for included ERB’s financial report for six months ended June 30, 2011, which was dated July 2011 [FHRA 25. 18. 2011], agenda for the 25th finance, human resource and administration committee meeting of the ERB, which was to be held at ERB boardroom then at Premium House on July 27, 2011.

Sitali is also alleged to have asked to be availed with the ERB retention challenges update and the interim performance management board allowances of July 2011, among other documents.

When the matter came up for plea before magistrate Sylvia Munyinya on Wednesday, Sitali understood the charge but denied having committed the offences.

The court entered the pleas of not guilty.

Magistrate Munyinya adjourned the matter to December 7 for commencement of trial.

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