Court overturns three-year suspended sentences for Viola, Chingola in corruption case,send the two to prison

By Chisomo Phiri

The High Court  Financial Crimes Division on  Tuesday March 26,2024, overturned the three-year suspended sentences given to former National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) Deputy Chief Executive Officer (DCEO) Gerald Viola and his co-convict Chrispin Chingola and instead sentenced the two to 2 years imprisonment.

The two were arrested in October 2020 on allegations that they unilaterally issued a K3.3 billion Local Purchasing Order (LPO) to Missie’s Trading to supply 10, 000 metric tonnes of maize to the organisation.


The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) appealed against the three-year suspended sentences last year.

Judge Anneline Kanthambi observed that the offence the two committed is a felony and not a misdemeanor hence the quashing of the lower court’s judgement.

In an interview with local media, ACB senior legal and prosecution officer Ellen Chandilanga said the bureau is satisfied with the ruling saying it will send a strong message to would be be offenders about the punishment associated with the offence.

According to the ACB, the sentence is with effect from 26 March, 2024, which is the day of ruling.

Viola was convicted of abuse of office contrary to Section 25B (1) of the Corrupt Practices Act while Chingola was convicted for influencing a public officer to misuse a public office contrary to Section 25B (2) of the Corrupt Practices Act (CPA).

In March 2022, Viola and Chingola were found with a case to answer on offences under the CPA and Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act.