Former ZAF commander Eric Chimese acquitted as state fails to prove cases against him
BECAUSE of the State’s failure to prove allegations levelled against the accused, a magistrate has acquitted former Zambia Air Force (ZAF) commander Eric Chimese alongside businessman James Chungu.
Lusaka Magistrate Exildah Nsunge-Chanda found that the prosecution team never took key witnesses to testify in the case while some of the witnesses from ZAF had contradicting statements in relation to abuse of authority allegations levelled against Chimese hence having their evidence discredited.
This in in a 2019 matter in which Chimese and Chungu were charged with money laundering related allegations by the Drug Enforcement Commission.
It was alleged that between June 2013 and June 2018 in Lusaka, Chimese engaged ZAF employees to do works on his private property, plot number 2303/Q, Ibex Hill, an alleged act which was arbitrary and prejudicial to interests of Government.
Further, it is alleged that between January 2012 and February 2019, Chimese and Chungu concealed and disguised the rights to ownership of nine flats, a single-storey building, one guest wing and one semi-detached cottage situated on farm 2303/Q, Ibex Hill.
It is alleged that they allegedly concealed the properties knowing or having reason to believe that the possessions were proceeds of crime.
During trial, the State called 22 witnesses and at the close of the case, magistrate Chanda found the duo with a case to answer and placed them on their defence.
Chimese opted to remain silent, which is his constitutional right, while Chungu testified during his defence contending that farm 2303/Q belongs to Chita Lodge and not Chimese. The businessman, who is also Chita Lodge shareholder, said the money used in building the nine flats and other properties on the indictment was from loans Chita Lodge got from banks.
The court also heard that Chimese does not own shares in Chita Lodge.
In relation to abuse of authority of offense offence, a state witness narrated that Chimese allegedly instructed a ZAF officer to supervise construction works at his property in Twin Palm, Lusaka.
And in her judgement, the court found that the state failed to prove the case against the accused persons adding, there was no proof that Chimese engaged in money laundering because his net worth was inconclusive.
The court found that Chimese’s net worth was not conclusive because the money he accrued while working before he was appointed ZAF commander had not been determined.
“There were some ZAF officers who were not brought to help in the conclusion of this matter especially where the three ZAF officers failed to counter the money which Chimese earned from 1989 to 2018,” the magistrate said.
Magistrate Chanda also found that there were no suspicious transactions on Chimese’s bank account.
Further, there no proof that Chimese abused his office because there was no evidence to show that ZAF officers were not at their places of work and went to work at the private properties in Ibex Hill.
The magistrate also found that an official from the Ministry of Lands official confirmed that the certificate of title for the properties in question at 2303/Q have always belonged to Chita Lodge.
The court found that the totality of evidence shows that the source of the property in question did not show that it belonged to Chimese.
“The prosecution has failed to prove the case in all the counts,” magistrate Chanda said.
A prosecutor informed the court that the State will appeal against the Judgement.
(Mwebantu, Tuesday, 23rd May, 2023)
‘Abductors’ to finally take plea on June 5,2023
A medical review report has revealed that the health condition of James Bwalya, one of the alleged abductors who has a spinal injury, has significantly improved.
A Judge has since ordered that both Bwalya and his co-accused Mathews Sikaonga should now proceed to take plea on June 5.
The case came up this morning for presentation of a medical review report for Bwalya.
Bwalya and Sikaonga, are facing 54 charges of abduction, rape, assault and others allegedly committed between January and October last year.
(Mwebantu, Wednesday, 31st May, 2023)
Traditional doctor reports suspect to police after failure to pay for service
AFTER failing to pay for a service rendered to him by a traditional doctor, a man of Chinsali has been reported to police for being in possession of firearms and charms.
It is believed that the said fire arms and charms have been used to kill people.
The illegal possession of the home made firearms and charms came to light when the suspect Dosani Sichimata along with his brother approached the traditional doctor for help involving his daughter.
The suspect, who is now on the run told the traditional doctor that his daughter was having nightmares suspectedly because of the job he was hired to do, which involved killing people.
However, he failed to pay the K5,000 demanded by the traditional doctor for the services rendered, leading to him being reported to police.
Muchinga province commanding officer Kaunda Mubanga said the incident occured between May 25th around 15:00 hours and May 29 the around 10:00 hours at Ndunya village in Chinsali district.
“Brief facts are that a traditional doctor Lyson Simukoko aged 37 of Kapillonga village in Isoka went to Mwenekasi village to perform his duties as a traditional doctor and was accommodated by his elder brother Ronald Simukoko a village headman of the said village and also a reporter in this matter. Whilst there at Mwenekasi village, he was approached by two brothers Bevien Sichimata and Dosani Sichimata who came from Ndunya village,” he said.
He said the suspect Dosani told him that he needed help from the traditional doctor, explaining that his daughter had nightmares whenever she slept and he suspected that this happened because he has been hired by different persons to kill people using his guns.
Mr Kaunda explained that the traditional doctor and the two brothers then travelled to Ndunya village and a K150 was charged by the doctor.
“When they got there, the traditional doctor ordered the now suspect to bring out the two firearms and further ordered him to also bring forth the traditional medicine he was using after killing people with his guns after being hired. Before the traditional doctor performed his duties, he charged the now suspect K5000 which he failed to pay and only managed K600,” he said.
Mr Mubanga said after failing to agree on the charge, the village headman of Ndunya village then ordered that the guns and the charms used by the suspect to commit murder be burnt.
He said but , the traditional doctor refused and got the said firearms and went with them back to Mwenewisi village where the matter was the reported to Isoka police station.
(Mwebantu, Wednesday, 31st May, 2023)
Mumbwa bartender gang raped by three men
A 39-year-old bartender of Mumbwa has been left traumatized after she was gang raped by three men.
The victim is believed to have been accompanying the suspects to police after a brawl at the bar and they took advantage, dragged her into a bush and sexually abused her.
However, a fourth suspect who was part of the brawl and not part of the rape has been picked to help apprehend the suspects.
Central Province Commissioner of police David Chileshe who confirmed the sad incident to Mwebantu said it occurred on Saturday around 21:00 hours at Water Affairs area.
He said the victim was accompanying the suspects to police to report a case of malicious damage to property.
“Brief facts were that the victim, while working in the bar observed a fight among the suspects. After some time she saw the suspects fighting the security guard and later accused him of breaking a phone for one of the criminals. This was after the guard attempted to separate the fight. The guard managed to escape from the fighting hoodlums. It was at this point that the four criminals demanded to have the matter reported to the police and insisted that the lady accompany them,” he said.
He said the suspects then started off towards the police station with the bar lady and when they reached water affairs near Munengo bridge, they dragged the victim into a nearby bush where three of the criminals took turns to rape her while the fourth one declined to join in the illicit act.
“After raping the victim the criminals left the scene and ran away. One person was apprehended in connection with the incident to help with investigations as a manhunt for the other suspects continues,” he said.
(Mwebantu, Wednesday, 31st May, 2023)