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Zambian correctional facilities in over 150 percent overcrowding

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AS of yesterday, correctional facilities in Zambia had more than 25,000 inmates against a 10,650 holding capacity and this high congestion has been attributed to pending judgements and increased remandees.

Zambia Correctional Service(ZCS) commissioner general Fredrick Chilukutu said correctional facility population standards at 25,372, representing 150 percent congestion rate considering that the seating capacity is 10,650.

To address congestion, Mr Chilukutu has urged the Judiciary to address cases of pending judgements and remandees with bailable offenses who are around 1,500.
Mr Chilukutu said this yesterday during the ceremonial opening of the Criminal High Court Sessions in Lusaka.

He said of the total population, 5,101 are remandeess, among them pending judgements by the courts of law, those with bailable offences, prohibited immigrants and those on continued trial and criminal investigations by arresting agencies.
“This category translates to 20 percent of the total prison population which is critically contributing to overcrowding,” Mr Chilukutu said.

He also called on adjudicators to consider alternative punishments for some wrongdoers rather handing everyone custodial sentences.

Mr Chilukutu further urged the judiciary to make concerted efforts with the Correctional Service to ease overcrowding in prisons and correctional centres by prioritising the imposition of non-custodial sentences for appropriate offences.

He said juries should give reasonable bail conditions to accused persons facing bailable offences.

Mr Chilukutu said ZCS has since embarked on expansion of Open-Air Correctional centers and strengthening collaboration with other players in the criminal justice system for speedy disposal of court cases and enhancing information sharing.

The Service Chief said that, “the Service has prioritized the decongestion Presidential policy statement to decongest the center through implementation of the transfer of convicted persons Act of 1998 through bilateral agreements with various countries in the exchange of convicted foreign nationals.”

And session judge Charles Kafunda noted that the attainment of improved coordination between the Judiciary and Correctional Service will provide effective communication.

The Judge said this will ultimately ensure that punishments meted out by the courts of law are correctly implemented by the Correctional Services.

And Judge in Charge of the Lusaka High Court Justice Charles Zulu emphasized the need for collaboration in the dispensation of Justice in line with the session theme, “Better delivery of justice through improved coordination of Correctional and Judicial Systems.”

The Zambia Correctional Service and the Judiciary agreed to collaborate in order to address congestion in Prisons and Correctional centers.

(Mwebantu, Tuesday, 9th January, 2024)

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Zindaba Soko boss detained for disobeying court 

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FORMER Road Transport and Safety Agency chief executive officer Zindaba Soko has been detained for contempt of court after he travelled to Dubai for a job interview and missed a court session.

He missed a court session in a matter he and two others are accused of forging a passport and National Registration Card (NRC) bearing a dead person’s name.

About two weeks ago, Soko asked for permission to travel abroad but was advertised to attend court before leaving but the instruction was not obeyed.

Consequently, Lusaka magistrate Irene Wishimanga issued a bench warrant against Soko .

When the case resumed yesterday, Soko was brought to court under warrant and when asked why he missed court, he told the court that his lawyers misled him.

Soko told court that his lawyers told him that they would file a notice in court indicating his absentia when he travelled abroad.

This is in a case Soko, 45, a transport consultant of Old Lilayi Road, is jointly charged with Ibrahim Mbongo, 24, a student of Libala South, Kelvin Kisambara, a businessman, both of Tokyo Way.

They are charged with forgery, uttering false documents, being found in possession of property believed to have been stolen or unlawfully obtained.

Allegations are that between January 1 and 17 this year, with intent to defraud, the accused allegedly forged NRC255428/10/1 in the names John Tembo, who was reportedly dead, according the police.

The trio is further purported to show that the NRC was genuinely issued by the Department of National Registration, Passport and Citizenship, when infact not.

It is further alleged that Kisambara later fraudulently uttered the purportedly forged NRC to a banker at FNB bank in Chilenje.

(Mwebantu, Friday, 23rd February, 2024)

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DJ in court after inserting manhood in four girls’ mouths

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A 25-YEAR-OLD DISC Jockey (DJ) of Kanyama Township, Lusaka, has pleaded not guilty to the offence of unnatural offences after he allegedly sexually abused four girls by inserting his manhood in the mouth of four girls whom he invited to his house.

The victims are all under the age of 16.

The suspect, Kelvin Mutale, 25, has been charged with four counts of unnatural offences, an offence contrary to section 155(a) of the Penal Code.

It is alleged that on December 24, 2023, Mutale had carnal knowledge of four girls against the order of nature.

When he appeared in court yesterday, Mutale pleaded not guilty to all the four counts before Lusaka magistrate Crispin Hampungani for plea.

The accused then applied for bail pending trial, to which the State did not object.

Magistrate Hampungani granted Mutale bail in the sum of K20,000 and the money has to be paid in cash for the accused to be released on bond.

The court also asked the accused to bring two sureties.

The case has been adjourned to March 19 for trial.

(Mwebantu, Friday, 23rd February, 2024)

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State to grab Charity Katanga’s buses

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THE Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Gilbert Phiri has applied to have the 10 Higer buses worth K26million belonging to imprisoned former Deputy Inspector General of Police Charity Katanga forfeited to the State.

Further, the DPP wants forfeiture of K1.5million which is in the account for Chibeka Express Limited, the company which was operating the 10 Higer buses deemed to be proceeds of crime.

In a notice of motion filed by the DPP before the Lusaka Magistrate’s Court, the DPP says the properties should be seized because they are tainted.

The lawsuit comes after the Magistrate’s Court jailed Ms Katanga, Monday, after being found guilty of possession of the 10 buses deemed to be proceeds of crime, is the interested party.

In the DPPs documents, the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC),
chief investigations officer Ewdin Mwanza submits that Ms Katanga Monday, February, 19, Ms Katanga was tried and convicted of the offence of possession of suspected proceeds of crime.

Mr Mwanza submits that court record will show that the former senior police officer’s conviction is based on her being found in possession of 10 higer buses whose registration numbers are; BAF 5118 ZM, BAF 5119 ZM, BAG 8558 ZM, BAG 8559 ZM, BAG 8733 ZM, BAJ 2476 ZM, BAJ 2590 ZM, BAJ 2919 ZM, BAV 2931, BAL 9126 ZM, all worth K26,282,770.

Mr Mwanza submits that the record will show that I also seized K1,55,005.15 in Chibeka Express Limited account number 9130000699156 Stanbic bank Ndola main branch which received these funds from the operations of the 10 higer buses found by this honourable court to be proceeds of crime.

He adds that the matter is a proper one in which the court can order that the buses and money in the account be forfeited to the State for being proceeds of crime.

The State prays that this court orders that the properties be forfeited to the State and paid into the government’s consolidated fund held at Central Bank.

(Mwebantu, Thursday, 22nd February, 2024

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