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Local Courts

Mine accident claims lives as victims feared drowned in buried tunnels



FOLLOWING a mine accident in Chingola district on the Copperbelt, reports suggest the victims that were buried alive are feared to have drowned.

The victims are suspected to have drowned in the tunnels where they were digging copper ore after heavy rains and landslides buried the tunnels.

Police received a report of drowning from Abedenigo Keshinako who has since identified seven of his colleagues that were victims of mine accident at Kasenseli of Konkola Copper Mines (KCM)open pit.

A combined rescue team of police, Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) staff and fire brigade have however, not yet retrieved any of the bodies.

Police spokesperson Rae Hamoonga said the incident occurred on November 30th between 21:00 hours and 22:00 hours.

“Mr Keshinako reported that those that are suspected to have drowned are Christopher Chungu ,Silvester other names not known ,John other name not known ,a person only known as Bashi Prisca , Joe other names not known,Gold other names not known and another one only known as Bashi Emma,” he said.

He noted that those identified together with others drowned in the tunnels where they were digging copper ore after heavy rains.

“The Police, KCM rescue team and fire brigade visited the scene and it was discovered that there were two sites within the pit where the victims were buried. The bodies are not yet retrieved as efforts are being made to retrieve them,” he said.

(Mwebantu, Saturday, 2nd December, 2023)

Local Courts

Charity Katanga to appeal against the three year jail term which left her relative’s weeping



DESPITE her lawyers begging the court not to impose a custodial sentence on former Inspector General of Police Charity Katanga, Lusaka chief resident magistrate Davies Chiwbili said he needed to mete out a punishment that will remind those in positions of authority to be honest.

Magistrate Chibwili, who jailed Ms Katanga for three years, said it was important to impose punishment that will send a clear signal to “those of us in positions of responsibility” to be honest.

The magistrate said this before jailing Ms Katanga whom he found guilty in a case she was accused of buying 10 Higer buses worth K26million, using money deemed to be proceeds.

But before she was sentenced, her lawyer Benjamin Mwelwa, pleaded for leniency because his client served the country and protected lives and properties on duty.

“…Until unfortunately today, she has been found to have transgressed the law she protected for her entire life. All her energy has gone into the bottomless pit. She is a first offender who deserves the maximum leniency of this court.

“She has a tag of a convict today, which is enough punishment of a person of her standing in her society,” he said and

prayed that the court gives Ms Katanga an alternative punishment other than imprisonment.

Magistrate Chibwili said Ms Katanga was a first offender deserving leniency but noted the gravity of the offence and its effect on the Zambia Police.

The convict’s conduct stained the police service because the allegations against her happened when she was a very senior police officer who was expected or seen to be chasing after criminals” but “it is disheartening that she was doing the same unlawful things she appeared to be policing.

The magistrate said the convict put a stain on the police uniform that she wore very proudly and the police service will suffer a lack of trust and confidence because of her actions.

“It is imperative for the court to impose punishment that will send a clear signal to those of us in positions of responsibility to be honest and act appropriate in our offices because once caught, the fall from grace is much harder than for an ordinary citizen,” magistrate Chibwili said.

Ms Katanga was charged with possession of property reasonably suspected of being proceeds of crime.

Allegations were that between January 1, 2017 and June 6, 2022, Ms Katanga, jointly and while acing with others, allegedly bought 10 Higer Buses reasonably suspected of being proceeds of crime, allegations she denied.

Through lead prosector, Mukuma Chipawa, the State called over 10 witnesses to testify against the former Southern Province Commissioner of police.

Evidence presented in court was by a Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) investigations officer was that Ms Katanga’s earnings compared to her expenditure for the years 2017 to 2021 showed an over K15 million excess in terms of expenditure.

The witness also narrated that Katanga’s known income between 2017 and 2021 was over K1.7 million against over K18 million which was paid towards the purchase of buses.

The magistrate found Ms Katanga with a case to answer and asked her to defend herself from the allegaitons.

In defence, Ms Katanga pleaded innocence arguing that she bought the buses from her personal income, monthly salary’s savings and loans.

She also said she retirement money and also borrowed some money which was used to buy the buses.

However, magistrate Chibwili said Ms Katanga’s defence was an afterthought because there were no transfer of funds to Higher from Katanga’s bank account.

The court also found that “none of the funds paid to higher in 2017 2018 and 2019 went through the bank.

The magistrate said Ms Katanga never produced evidence showing that the retirement package she received in 2014 worth K1.1 million was used to buy the buses.

He wondered that If the money that was paid to Higer for the purchase of buses did not come from her earnings as demonstrated in her answers, then where did they come from?

“Where did that money come from especially that it did not come from any of the accounts the accused was linked to,” magistrate Chibwili said.

He said he satisfied that the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt and found Katanga guilty and jailed her.

Her relatives cried uncontrollably as the former law enforcer, now a convict, was being led to cell-car enroute to a detention facility.

The rosery clad Ms Katanga, who kept her composure while waving at journalists, waved at journalists as she was led into the car.

Her lawyers said the Judgement was harsh and their client will appeal against it.

(Mwebantu, Tuesday, 20th February, 2024)

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Businessmen found with case to answer over pangolin possession



THE Lusaka Magistrate’s Court has found two businessmen and a farmer of Lusaka with a case to answer in a matter the trio is accused of illegal possession of a live pangolin, one of the most trafficked mammal in the world.

The suspects in the case are Isaac Nkhata, 44, of Kamwala South, his fellow businessman Patrick Mwambi, 42, of Kamanga, and Jairos Zulu, 64, a farmer of Mungule area.

They are charged with illegal possession of protected trophy, contrary to section 130(1) of the Zambia Wildlife Act.

Allegations are that on January 13 this year, the trio, had in their possession, a live pangolin, a vehicle registration number ALL3389 and a brown sack.

All the properties in their possession are believed to have been stolen or unlawfully obtained.

The trio pleaded not guilty before Lusaka magistrate Mutinta Mwenya.

But after several witnesses testified in the case, magistrate Mwenya found the accused with a case to answer and placed them on their defence, which they will soon open this month.

During trial, a Department of National Parks and Wildlife narrated how the suspects were arrested in connection with the allegations.

Patrick Mukupa, of Kafue, narrated that the arrest was after the department received information that some people had a pangolin.

He said the mammal in question was weighing 8.2kilogrammes and valued at K23, 438.

“I received exhibits, a car, car keys, a brown sack bag brown in colour. I warned the suspects and reminded them of their rights.

“Isaac Nkhata asked for forgiveness, Patrick Mwambi did not say anything while Jairos Zulu also asked for forgiveness,” the officer said.

He said he later charged and arrested the trio in connection with the charge.

(Mwebantu, Saturday, 17th February, 2024)

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Local Courts

SDA Master Guide accused of defilement jailed



THE Seventh-Day Adventist Master Guide who is in court for allegedly defiling a 12-year-old has been jailed for contempt of court in another court case where he was a surety.

When the defilement case was called yesterday before magistrate Kawama Mwamfuli, a prosecutor informed the court that the accused, Collins Chikwangala, 40, was not present.

The prosecutor told the court that Chikwangala, who is on police bond, is serving a contempt of court jail term at Kamwala Remand Centre.

“I am reliably informed that he is in custody in Kamwala,” the prosecutor said.

Magistrate Mwamfuli consequently adjourned the matter to February 20, 2024 for continuation of trial for the defilement case.

Chikwangala is alleged to have defiled the victim in June this year.

At the time of the alleged crime, the child’s mother was out with her church mates at a church event.

It is alleged that the accused used the absence of the child’s mother and purportedly told her that her mother had left with him some parcel which he needed to give.

The victim allegedly accompanied Chikwangala to his home where he stays with his parents.

But on arrival, the accused allegedly asked the victim to go inside the house where he allegedly grabbed and dragged inside and defiled her.

Chikwangala allegedly warned the victim that should she tell anyone about what he did to her, he would kill her and her entire family.

(Mwebantu, Wednesday, 14th February, 2024)

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