Stock theft in Zambia will become non-bailable following Cabinet’s approval to introduce in Parliament during the next sitting a Bill titled “The Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill, 2023.
President Hakainde Hichilema, called for the 14th Cabinet Meeting on Wednesday August 30, 2023, at State House, to deliberate on policy and legislative matters, according to Chief Government’s Spokesperson Chushi Kasanda.
Speaking on behalf of the government in a statement issued in Lusaka on Monday, Kasanda said the objectives of the Bill are to amend the Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill, 2023 , so as to make the offence of stock theft non-bailable
She said the Bill sought to empower all classes of the subordinate court to commit matters required to be committed for trial to the High Court
The Minister of Information and Media said the Bill seek to revise the powers of the Chief Justice relating to issuances of Rules under the Act.
“It has been generally observed that the offence of stock theft has become prevalent in Zambia and is negatively affecting economic growth,” she said.
Kasanda said the negative effects include the loss of livelihoods for most households and subsistence farmers, which invariably leads to an increase in the number of people living in poverty.
To support the Criminal Procedure Code Bill, Kasanda said Cabinet also approved the publication and introduction in Parliament, during the next sitting, of the Bill titled “The Penal Code (Amendment) Bill, 2023.”
“The objective of the Bill is to amend the Penal Code, so as to revise the penalties relating to stock theft, ” she said.
Kasanda said currently, Section 275 of the Penal Code Act provides for different penalties depending on the type of stock that is stolen.
“Due to the rise in stock theft in the country, it has become necessary to amend the Penal Code Act so as to, among others, revise the penalties relating to stock theft in an effort to deter would-be criminals from committing the offence of stock theft which will invariably, allow for economic growth at a household level,” she said.
Kasanda said Cabinet agreed that there was need to deter criminal activities on livestock theft in the country through stiffer penalties and, therefore, the proposal through this Bill was more appropriate.
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