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‘Gold’ scandal: 11 suspects accused of espionage appear before court to seek release on bail


The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Gilbert Phiri, has asked the Lusaka Magistrate not to grant bail to the 11 suspects in the gold scandal, because doing so would be prejudicial to the State.

This is in a matter where six Zambians and five Egyptians are facing a charge of Espionage contrary to section 3 (a) of The State Security Act Cap 111 of the Laws of Zambia.

Read more: Drug Enforcement Commission arrests five Egyptians, six Zambians for alleged espionage

The six Zambians are Lusaka businessman Shadrick Kasanda, 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 the 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.

On Monday, the 11 appeared before Chief Resident Magistrate Davies Chibwili, who explained the charge.

Magistrate Chibwili explained to the accused that the charge of Espionage was triable before the High Court.

State prosecutor Gracilia Mulenga informed the court that she had a certificate from the DPP that granting bail to the 11 would be prejudicial to the state.

“Now, therefore, I, Gilbert Phiri, SC – The Director of Public Prosecutions for the Republic of Zambia, pursuant to the powers vested in me by Section 123(4) of the Criminal Procedure Code, Chapter 88 of the Laws of Zambia certify that it is likely that the interest of the Republic of Zambia will be prejudiced if that accused persons herein are admitted to bail,” read the certificate.

But defence lawyers objected to the application contending that matters of bail or any issue relating to a case of Espionage was the preserve of the High court.

“We are surprised with the manoeuvre by the state to produce a certified document in this court. As already observed by the court, this matter is trialable in the High Court. Matters of bail or any issue relating to this matter for it to proceed is a procedure of the High Court,”

“What Is more shocking is that for this court to proceed or receive any issue apart from the examination of the charge is an irregularity which is known by the State. The role of the court was to explain the charge and refer the matter to another date if the state is not ready to give us a date when the matter will be tried in the High Court. What is shocking is that the consent from the DPP to proceed is not on the record. My plea is that the court must limit to its jurisdiction to explain the matter or refer. Matter of bail are not for you, not today,” argued counsel Lubinda Linyama.

Another defence lawyer, former Solicitor General, Abraham Mwansa ,SC, urged the State to withdraw the certificate because the Magistrate Court has no jurisdiction to hear the matter and therefore not in a position to admit it.

But the State in response submitted that the subordinate court had the power to entertain or consider an application for bail, not withstanding that the matter was triable in High Court.

Magistrate Chibwili adjourned to Tuesday for ruling on the application.

Last week DEC seized an Egyptian private aircraft loaded with about US$5.7 million cash, 605 golden coins in addition to five guns with 126 bullets.

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