Twist in espionage case, as Kasanda alleges DEC officers demanded over $10 million not to slam robbery charge


Espionage suspect, Shadreck Kasanda, on Thursday left the Court room in shock when he testified that Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) officers demanded for K5 million and US$10 million in exchange for him not to be slammed with more charges, among them the offence of aggravated robbery which carries a 15 years minimum sentence.

DEC senior investigations officer, Lydia Chisanga, told Lusaka Chief Resident Magistrate, Davies Chibwili, that Kasanda was picked by a group of six paramilitary officers and taken to the Command Center.

Read more: Kasanda reportedly abducted from court premises by unidentified agents, lawyer seeks legal intervention

Kasanda, a businessman and 10 other suspects who include Egyptians have been charged with espionage linked to the gold and US$5.6 million cash scandal at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA).

Kasanda, 33, was on Wednesday, allegedly abducted by DEC officers from a holding cell and taken to an unknown place.

His lawyer, Makebi Zulu, asked the court to charge DEC for contemptuous behavior.

Magistrate Chibwili summoned Chisanga to appear before him and show cause why she should not be charged for contempt.

When the matter came up on Thursday, Kasanda was put on the stand to explain why he did not appear before court the previous day.

Kasanda narrated that on Wednesday at around 11:30 hours at Lusaka Remand prison, known as Chimbokaila, all the 11 suspects were called to the reception where they met a man called Zeyvanji Musonda.

“The witness who stood before me (Chisanga), she came to call me that one of my relatives came to see me outside. She opened the cells and she asked for the keys and she escorted me to the bus, and there was no paramilitary officer, there were DEC officers,” he said.

“Isaac Daka, Sydney Mukelebai Marvin Kangaja and Mr Anderson. In the bus we were only five of us. I was driven to FNB Kabulonga, where they claimed that there was money in my account, over K5 millon, and that I should give them or else they will give me a charge of armed robbery and my co- accused,” he added.

Kasanda claimed that after he refused, he was taken to the Command Center, dragged and beaten.

“At Command Center, I was put in a room where I was alone and I refused to say anything, as I requested for my lawyers. And I requested counsel Botha to come because the torture was too much.

“I was still forced that if I don’t give them the money amounting to $10m that we will not go anywhere. Thereafter, that was when my laywers came, counsel Botha, Charity and another one,” he testified.

Kasanda said he was taken back to Chimbokaila around 13:30 hours and told to discuss the offer with his co-accused and make up their mind.

Earlier, Chisanga testified that the officers who picked Kasanda were in paramilitary uniform.

She could not however identify them by name.

Magistrate Chibwili reserved ruling to Friday as to whether the actions by DEC was contemptuous.

Kasanda is jointly charged with Mahogany Air Chief Executive Officer Jim Belemu, commercial pilot Patrick Kawanu, accountant Oswald Diangamo ,Francis Mateyo and senior police officer Robson Moonga.

The Egyptians include director Walid Refaat Fathmi Botors, factory worker Mounir Shaker Gerges Awad, retired Colonel Mohamed Abdelhak Mohamed Gooda, security manager Yasser Mokhtar Abdelghafor and businessman Micheal Adel Micheal Batros.

Facts are that the 11 on August 13,2023,jointly and whilst acting together with other persons unknown did enter a protected area, namely Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA) for purposes that are prejudicial to the safety or interest of the Republic of Zambia.

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