Corrupt oilman gets six years in Malawi jail

Blantyre- Malawi (PANA) -- Former General Manager of the Petroleum Control Commission (PCC), Dennis Kambalame, was Monday sentenced to six years imprisonment with hard labour by the High Court in the commercial capital Blantyre over graft charges at the state- run petroleum firm.
He was convicted last Friday.
Kambalame was found guilty by Justice Frank Kapanda of the offence of "corrupt use of official powers by a public officer.
" The PCC was a state-owned firm before its assets were privatised.
"Corruption has a negative impact on the economy," Kapanda told the packed court-room.
"If left to flourish or prosper, the country may collapse economically.
I therefore sentence you to six years imprisonment.
" Kambalame's lawyer, Tamando Chokotho, has since indicated he would appeal both the conviction and the sentence.
Kambalame was found guilty of receiving gratification amounting to 25,000 US dollars after awarding a consultancy contract to a UK-based firm, Hamble Energy, to construct a strategic fuel reserve tank in Malawi.
Kambalame's two-year case is the first high profile case to be won by the Anti-Corruption Bureau.
Former President Bakili Muluzi fired Kambalame from the PCC in 1998 on recommendation from the International Monetary Fund after he failed to explain the disappearance of 14 million US dollars at the petroleum commission following unexplained losses in fuel imports.
The commission exclusively controlled fuel imports until the IMF pressured government four years ago to liberalise the lucrative oil business.

16 august 2004 17:20:00

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