By PERPETUAL SICHIKWENKWE –
A LUSAKA visually-impaired business executive has been jailed two years for hacking into more than seven politicians’ mobile phones and stealing talk-time worth more than K18, 000.
Jairos Tembo, 25 of Kanyama Township, a losing Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) candidate in the 2011 general elections, was found guilty on six counts and given 24 months for each count after being convicted in April.
Principal magistrate Aridah Chuulu said, however, that he would only serve two years because the sentences would run concurrently.
Tembo, who gave his particulars as being a journalist and business executive, was charged with unauthorised access to data and theft of talk-time from several politicians and a business executive, owner of Muvi Television, Steve Nyirenda who is his cousin.
Among the politicians, who fell victim to Tembo’s dubious and fraudulent deeds were Commerce Minister Robert Sichinga, former Defence minister Geoffrey Mwamba, Kabwata Member of Parliament Given Lubinda, Willie Nsanda, Michael Mabenga, Mike Mulongoti and retired politician Vernon Mwaanga.
Tembo, of House Number 230 Old Kanyama Township, committed the offences between December and July 18, 2012.
Ms Chuulu said in her judgment delivered on Wednesday that although she had taken into consideration the challenges Tembo was facing in prison as a visually-impaired person, she was sending him to jail because the offence he committed was serious.
She said the offence of hacking into people’s mobile phones and stealing their talk-time was serious and that members of the public could not be served with that kind of behaviour.
Ms Chuulu said she was alive to the fact that Tembo was already serving another sentence slapped on him by another court which he has since appealed against.
Tembo later thanked the court for the effort it made to bring witnesses to court to testify on his behaviour.
He, however, blamed investigating officers whom he accused of not thoroughly investigating the case.
Tembo said if only the officers had investigated the case properly, he would have been acquitted of the offences.
He said he would appeal to the High Court against both the conviction and sentence after holding a Press conference from prison.