THE ‘gold scam’ court case, now Espionage, has taken another twist.
This time, one of the 11 accused, businessman Shaderick Kasanda, has told the Lusaka Magistrate’s Court that some Enforcement Commission (DEC) officers demanded US$10million.
He said the officers had also taken him to a bank in Kabulonga and asked him to give them K5million failure to which they would slap him with an aggravated robbery charge on top of Espionage that he is already charged with.
Mr Kasanda also informed the court that the officers told him that if he and his 10-co-accused, who include six Egyptians, fail to release the US$10million, they would rot in jail.
He was giving evidence is a case he and 10 others are charged with Espionage following their arrest by DEC during the thwarted gold scam at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA) which saw confiscation of some metals initially thought to be gold, private jet and US$5million.
But on Wednesday, Kasanda was missing before court while all the accused were present, prompting the court to issue summons against the persons believed to have been in the custody of the accused.
When the case resumed before Lusaka chief resident magistrate Davies Chibwili, one of the defence lawyers, Makebi Zulu, asked DEC senior investigations officer Lydia Chisanga to explain what happened at the holding cell on Wednesday where Kasanda was before he was picked up.
Ms Chisanga explained that a group of seven paramilitary officers went to the holding cell and informed her that they had been instructed to pickup Kasanda but that when they wanted to go inot the cells, she stopped them because they were armed.
But she explained that they insisted and picked him up and led him into a bus around the Lusaka Magistrate’s ground.
At this point, Mr Zulu asked if she was that Kasanda was under warrant and was to appear in court at 14:00 on that day.
In response, Ms Chisanga said ‘Yes’.
She further said that after sometime, some officers alerted her that Kasanda had been taken to the command centre.
Mr Zulu then asked Ms Chisanga as to whose authority she handed over his client to the ‘paramilitary’ officers, to which she responded that she never handed him over but that “they picked him”.
At this point, Mr Zulu asked Kasanda to give his side of the story to which he explained that contrary to the testimony by Ms Chisanga, he was actually picked up by five DEC officers who dragged him from the holding cell into a bus.
“She [Ms Chisanga] was present when I was being dragged to the bus and there was no paramilitary officer. There were only DEC officers,” he narrated.
Kasanda said that Ms Chisanga earlier called him and told him that his relatives wanted to see him before leading him to the bus where he was picked from.
Kasanda said the DEC officers on the bus were Sydney Mukulebai, a Mr Anderson, Isaac Daka and Marvin Kanganja
He said that he was driven to FNB [bank] in Kabulonga so that he can withdraw K5million and give the DEC officers failure to which they would charge him with armed robbery.
Kasanda said that he refused before he was driver back to the command centre while he was being dragged and beaten.
“I was put in a room at the command centre where I was alone. I refused to talk and asked for my lawyer to come because the torture was too much,” he said.
He said, while trying hard not to cry, that he was told that the US$10million was not given to the officers, he and others would rot in jail.
The court heard that Kasanda’s lawyers later arrived at the command centre and the accused was later taken back to Chimbokaila(Lusaka Central Correctional Facility].
The matter continues tomorrow.
(Mwebantu, Thursday, 31st August, 2023)
Lusaka farm workers run after stealing 150 pigs from employer, police say
THREE farm workers are on the run after they allegedly stole 150 pigs valued at K1.5 million.
The three are Peter Mumba aged 40, Isaac Banda aged 36 and Boniface Banda aged 20.
A manhunt has been launched to bring the suspects to book.
Police spokesperson Rae Hamoonga said the incident allegedly took place on Friday December 8th between 19:00 to 20:00 hours.
He said the report of theft by servant was received from Veronica Phiri, the owner of the farm in the industrial area.
“Brief facts of the matter are that the reporter (farm owner) employed the trio at her farm two years ago. On December 7,2023,She visited her farm and everything was intact. However, on December 9,2023 around 10:00 hours,She received a phone call from her neighbour that there was no one at her farm including all workers and their wives.She later drove to her farm and found no body and all her livestock had been stolen,” he said.
Mr Hamoonga said she then immediately reported the matter to Westwood Police Station.
He added that Police Officers visited the scene of crime and found no workers at the farm and all the pigs had been stolen.
(Mwebantu, Sunday, 10th December, 2023)
Suspected criminal shot dead in Lusaka
POLICE have gunned down a suspected criminal believed to be behind a spate of robberies.
The suspect only known as Jack TC is believed to have committed a spate of crimes with his colleagues who are on the run.
Jack TC was renting an apartment in Kalundu area of Lusaka and allegedly hired a vehicle three months prior, which he used to commit the said crimes.
Police spokesperson Rae Hamoonga said the unfolding of the crimes started on November 29,2023, during routine patrols when officers spotted a Silver Toyota Ractis bearing Registration CAC 825 ZM which was suspiciously parked along a small gravel road.
He said when challenged, the occupants started the motor vehicle and spade off almost hitting one of the officers.
“This prompted officers to fire warning shots and consequently three suspected criminals escaped and abandoned the vehicle. A set of number plates bearing Registration number BAE 6146 ZM, were recovered. The vehicle was later discovered to have been hired out to Clement Katunga of Katungu farms in Makeni through our investigations,” he said.
He said later on December 7, 2023 around 09:00 hours, officers went to Lusaka west in Kalundu area where they found that the suspect was renting an apartment.
Mr Hamoonga said when officers approached the apartment, two suspected criminals came out and jumped over a wall fence with a lazer wire.
He explained that several warning shots were fired towards the two escaping criminals who nevertheless disappeared into a thicket in the neighboring farm.
“Unfortunately, when officers conducted a search around the thicket, one suspected criminal only known as Jack TC was found lying on the ground after he sustained bullet wounds and lazer wire respectively. He was rushed to University Teaching Hospital, but was unfortunately pronounced dead by a medical doctor,” he said.
Meanwhile, at the apartment officers recovered the following Unregistered Mark X grey in colour ,13 ladies hand bags, a set of four black mag rims wheels, with tyres, two sets of Number plates BAX 3769 and SHIKY 1, a double sticker seal tape, two pairs of ladies shoes, ÀB BANK Cash withdraw slip by IFO SABRIE KALID, a Gun case, FNB ATM bearing card number 1646, a Money tag Slip from Atlas Mara Zambezi mall and two NRCs bearing the names of Samuel Zulu and Mooba Habombe
Mr Hamoonga said also found was a driving licence for Clement Katunga ,Sherbourne lodge identity card for manager ,12 – 2023 Inclusive Sports Festival T-shirts, eight laptop bags, six Travelling bags, four suitcases and two kit bags.
“The Owner of the Ractis vehicle has identified the now deceased as the person who had in fact hired his vehicle for at least three months.
Investigations have since been instituted and a manhunt for the suspect who escaped is on,” he said.
(Mwebantu, Friday, 8th December, 2023)
Toxic marriage leads to death of two innocent children aged 2 and 7
A toxic marriage of 27 years has ended in the merciless murder of two children on the Copperbelt.
Esther Meleki aged, 45, reported that her 47-year-old husband Peter Chimbala, allegedly killed their two daughters, 7, and, 3, by burning them to death in a house fire.
It is alleged that the marriage between the two could be characterized by perpetual disputes and death threats.
Police have since launched a manhunt for Mr Chimbala.
Copperbelt Province commanding officer Peacewell Mweemba said the incident occurred on December 1, between 21:00 hours and 22:00 hours in Lufwanyama district.
“Brief facts are that the couple had been experiencing perpetual marital disputes for a long time in their 27 year old marriage which had been characterized by death threats from the husband.On November 29th at about 20:00 hours while retiring to bed, the couple experienced a dispute which turned violent,” he said.
Mr Mweemba explained that the physical abuse persisted until November 30th, resulting in the wife escaping from her marital home to her relative’s.
He said her stay with relatives was disrupted by her husband who followed her, while riding a bicycle with one of her daughters, Melicious Chimbala, 7, to claim custody of all the seven children.
“On December 1st at about 14:00 hours, he later left for Katembula section and was later seen by the eldest daughter Annie Chimbala on his way back with the same daughter and carrying a five litres container of petrol on his bicycle,” he said.
Mr Mweemba said on the same day, at about 21:00 hours, the suspect went back to Meleki village where his wife was and turned violent while demanding custody of all his children .
He said the wife was forced to hide in the bushes out of fear.
“While in Katembula, where she had retreated to, she was awakened by her daughter, at about 22:00 hours, who claimed that she had received a call from one of her siblings to the effect that her parents’ house was set on fire by her father leading to the death of some of her siblings.
Police visited the scene and confirmed the incident and later recovered two corpses of juveniles which were burnt to ashes and were identified by the mother,” he said.
(Mwebantu, Monday, 4th December, 2023)