The Lusaka Magistrates Court on Thursday moved to Mongu, Western Province for a site visit of the impounded Mukula logs.
This is in a matter where former Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) Chief Executive Officer, Mateyo Kaluba, and six others are facing 41 charges of abuse of authority and attempting to export Mukula.
The court visited the containers depicting contents of Mukula logs at Zambia Army Burton military camp in Mongu district.
The court arrived at the scene in Chirundu border at around 10:30 hours and the witness on stand, Harry Siakanyati, who is a forensic technician at the Zambia police crime scene department, took the court around the border where 23 impounded containers laden with suspected Mukuka logs were stored.
Kaluba is jointly charged with former director of the forestry department, Ignatius Makumba; retired Brigadier -General Gilbert Wails Mulenga of the Zambia Army; and Never Njobvu, former executive director at the Office of the President special division.
Others are: ACK General Dealers proprietor Ackson Tembo; Bruce Aongola, executive officer at the Office of the President, Special Division; and ZNS director of operations Colonel Maliwa Muwanei.
The accused are charged with two counts of abuse of authority of office and 39 counts of attempting to export Mukula.
The case is being presided over by Magistrate Irene Wishimanga, who sits under the Economic and Financial Crimes Court.
When the matter came up for scene visit, state prosecutors, Sophie Munkombwe and Nalishuka Sendeme said the state was ready to proceed with a witness who was reminded that he was still on oath.
The defense too said they were ready to proceed with the matter.
Harry Siakanyati, a forensic technician from Zambia police crime scene department, told the court that on October 20, 2022 he compiled and took containers 24 upto 39 in the photo album.
He submitted that the total number of all the logs were 39 including 23 located in Chirundu.
“All the containers depicts contents of Mukula logs. The two photo albums for Mongu and Mukula depicts the true content of the Mukula which are shown in the photo album,” he said.
In count one, it is alleged that Mulenga, Kaluba, Makumba and Njobvu between September 1 and 3, 2021 in Lusaka, being members of the central joint operations committee subcommittee, arbitrarily resolved to regularize an attempted illegal export of 23 trucks in Chirundu, Sothern Province, laden with Pterocarpus Antunesii logs, also known as Mukula by Ackson Tembo of ACK General Suppliers Limited to China, an act prejudicial to the interest of the Government of Zambia.
On count two, it is alleged that Mulenga, Kaluba, Makumba and Njobvu between the same periods, arbitrarily resolved to regularize an attempted illegal export of 16 trucks in Mongu, laden with Mukula by Ackson Tembo of ACK General Suppliers Limited to China, an act prejudicial to the interest of the Government of Zambia.
On the third count, Tembo, Aongola and Muwanei between July 1, 2021 and August 10, 2021 at Chirundu, jointly and whilst acting together with others unknown, attempted to export container no.TCNU 1177790 laden with mukula logs on motor vehicle truck registration number AJD 7097 and trailer registration numbers AJD 7109T, respectively through Chirundu border, without the necessary permits and licenses.
On count 41, Tembo, Aongola and Muwanei are alleged to have on July 1, 2021 and August 20, 2021 in Mongu, jointly and whilst acting with other persons unknown, attempted to export a container laden with mukula through Katima Mulilo border, without the necessary permits and licences.
The court has since adjourned the matter to September 19, 2023.
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