THE next time Zambians will hear about the infamous gold scam case at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport will probably when the High Court will be delivering judgement in the matter, which has drawn public attention.
Yesterday, the Lusaka High Court directed that the case in which Sedrick Kasanda and four others are charged with Espionage should be heard in camera in the interest of state security.
Judge Ruth Chibbabbuka ordered when delivering ruling following an application by the State that the case be heard in camera to safeguard public interest.
In the ruling, Judge Chibbabbuka granted the State’s application because the court was compelled to do so.
“Once the State assesses that the evidence that is to be presented before court may be prejudicial, they are entitled to make this application which this court is obliged to grant,” Judge Chibbabbuka read the ruling.
“There is no discretion on the part of the court to hold otherwise no matter how the arguments of the defense…”
The Judge said considering the gravity of, like Espionage, in the State Security Act, it was unsurprising that lawmakers never disputed that the listed offenses be tried in camera.
“This is based on the understanding that unsatisfactory disclosure of certain information to the public can be prejudicial to the Republic of Zambia,” Judge Chibbabbuka said.
She said, on behalf of Judges Charles Zulu and Situmbeko Chocho, that in section 15 of the State Security Act, the law compels the court to grant such an application.
“The obligation of the court is derived from the word ‘shall’ which consorts a mandatory position. The basis for this is to ensure that the public are protected from any national security risks,” the judge said.
“We hold the view that based on the information given to this court by the State, that the continued hearing in open court will be prejudicial to the Republic, the same is sufficient to grant the said order and we accordingly do so”.
Judge Chibbabbuka ruled that the case be held in camera, without journalists and the public.
“We adjourn the case for five minutes to give effect to the ruling,” Judge Zulu said as journalists and the gallery left the courtroom.
Last week, Chief State advocate Nkumbiza Mumba applied that the case be heard in camera, quoting section 15 of the State Security Act Chapter 111.
“Our application is that the proceedings in this matter be held in camera on grounds that some of the evidence that will be given in this matter, if given in view of the public, may be prejudicial to the interest of the republic,” Ms Mumba submitted.
But defence lawyers, among then Abraham Mwansa, objected to the application arguing that the application ought to be made by way of summons so that the State can pin point to such evidence which maybe prejudicial to the interest of the State,” Mr Mwansa contended.
Another defence lawyer, Makebi Zulu, argued that the State should have adduced evidence to show the prejudice that will be occasioned if the case is heard in public.
“This matter is in public domain and the continued incarceration of our clients is of great interest to the public. The public wants to know what happened at the airport,” defence lawyer Mwila Chibiliti added.
Belemu’s lawyer Martha Mushipe also buttressed the objection.
But in reply, Ms Mumba argued that providing evidence to show the prejudice that will be occasioned on the republic would be “akin to render our application an academic exercise”.
“The particulars are clear and the accused can ably defend themselves in the absence of the public,” she said.
Kasanda is jointly charged with pilot Patrick Kawanu, State security officer Francis Makai Mateyo, KKIA police commanding officer Robson Moonga and Mahogany Air proprietor Dr Jim Belemu.
All the five are charged with Espionage while Kasanda is additionally charged with fraudulent dealing with metals or minerals on August 13, this year.
(Mwebantu, Tuesday, 21st November, 2023)
‘I did not expect him to play well’ Leicester City coach on Patson Daka
LEICESTER City coach Enzo Maresca has said he did not expect striker Patson Daka to play well on Saturday having not seen much game time this season.
Yesterday, Daka served his manager a humble pie, scoring a goal and providing an assist in the 4-0 win over Plymouth.
In a post match Interview, Maresca revealed that, “I told Pat before the game: ‘It doesn’t matter if you play well or bad. I don’t expect you to play well. I can understand to be out for three or four months. So play free, relax, enjoy, and then we’ll see,” Maresca said.
Maresca said he is sorry that the player has not seen much action.
“I always said to him [Daka] that in these three or four months: ‘Pat, I’m very sorry for the situation.’ But it is what it is.”
Despite Daka’s impact, Maresca couldn’t give a concrete comment of the player’s future at the club.
“For me the future is Wednesday,” Maresca added. “I swear, serious. Pat is one of our players. We are happy. If he is not happy and he wants to leave, we’ll see. Now it’s about Wednesday.”
(Mwebantu, Sunday, 10th December, 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)