Africa

Jailed Zambia MP George Mpombo in prison complaint

Zambia's former Defence Minister George Mpombo at Ndola's magistrate cells after being sentenced to 60 days (Picture by Abel Mambwe)
Image caption George Mpombo was a minister for several years

An MP jailed in Zambia for 60 days has complained that prisoners in the country get no breakfast.

George Mpombo, a former defence minister, made the comments after he was sentenced for issuing a cheque on an insufficiently funded bank account.

He had recently resigned from his defence portfolio when his $2,000 (£1,250) cheque bounced last December.

Mr Mpombo, who is appealing against his conviction, said conditions in Zambia's prisons were "pathetic".

The court in Ndola, in the Copperbelt province, also fined him $800 on Monday.

Magistrate Kelvin Limbani said such cases had "serious consequences", badly affecting the country's economy, and his sentence would set an example.

"You deserve punishment so that you can reform and so that would-be offenders can be deterred from committing the same offence," Zambia's Lusaka Times quoted Mr Limbani as saying.

Speaking from a cell in the court after he was sentenced, Mr Mpombo told journalists that he wanted to appeal to Zambia's Human Rights Commission to do something about the overcrowded jails.

Mr Mpombo, who represents Kafulafuta constituency for the ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy, had been a minister for several years.

He served under the late President Levy Mwanawasa, as well as his successor Rupia Banda.

The BBC's Mutuna Chanda in the capital, Lusaka, says Mr Mpombo has been a critic of Mr Banda since his resignation from cabinet.

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