Former Zambian Vice-President Nevers Mumba has avoided prison after pleading that as a pastor, his congregation would suffer if he went to jail.
The cleric and politician was convicted on two counts of abuse of the authority of office by the Lusaka Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
The charges relate to his time when he served as Zambia’s ambassador to Canada between 2009 and 2011.
He was found guilty of awarding a contract to a Canadian company to do electrical works at the official residence of the high commissioner.
He was also found guilty of not following the correct procedure in the awarding of another contract for electrical and carpeting work, as well as the construction of a desk at the same residence.
After his guilty verdict was announced, Mumba pleaded in mitigation that his church members could not do without him.
The magistrate accepted this and Mumba, who served as vice-president between 2003 and 2004, will not serve any sentence as he was granted an absolute discharge.
Mumba is still involved in politics, and is now a faction leader of the former ruling party, the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD).
But the state-owned Zambia Daily Mail paper says the conviction will mean he may not be able to run for president.