The media and public maybe blacked-out from following proceedings of the trial involving five men accused of espionage before the Lusaka High Court.
This follows an application by the State requesting for an order of the court for proceedings to be held in camera or closed chambers.
This is in a matter in which Mahogany Air Chief Executive Officer, Jim Belemu, businessman Shadrick Kasanda, Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA) Police commanding officer, Robson Moonga, State Security officer, Francis Mateyo, and commercial pilot, Patrick Kawanu, linked to the gold scandal at the Airport, pleaded not guilty to espionage.
Kasanda is also facing a second charge of fraudulent dealing with metals or minerals contrary to Section 289 of the Penal Code Chapter 87 of the laws of Zambia.
It is alleged that on August 13, 2023, Kasanda jointly and whilst acting together with other persons unknown, allegedly did dispose of minerals with intent to defraud an Egyptian, Michael Adel Michel Botros.
He, however, denied the charge.
This is in connection with the scandal at KKIA involving alleged fake gold and US$5.6 million plus weapons.
Trial in the matter could not proceed on Wednesday before Judges Charles Zulu, Ruth Chibbabbuka and Situmbeko Chocho, after the State made an oral application for the matter to be heard in camera.
According to Chief State advocate Nkumbiza Mumba, basing the application on Section 15 of the State’s Security Act Cap 111 of the Zambian laws, there was evidence that could jeopardize the safety of the Republic.
“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 prejudice the interest of the Republic,” she said.
The State argued that the court should protect the welfare of the people where conduct maybe prejudicial to the same people.
But the defence opposed the application contending that the State had not demonstrated how the matter being held in open court could put the welfare of the nation at risk.
They stated that there was no evidence of the intended 38 witnesses which would warrant a private hearing.
Ruling on the application has been reserved to Monday, November 20, 2023.
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