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Justice O’ Metre: Recap of cases involving politically-exposed persons, others; February 2024


Welcome to Justice O’ Metre, an independent tracker on high profile cases affecting mostly politically-exposed persons within the Zambian judicial system, the rule of law and the administration of justice for common good.

February Review

The shortest month on the calendar was a hive of activities in the pursuit of justice, registering one of the most captivating convictions and sentencing, the sending of former Police deputy Inspector-General Charity Katanga to prison.

The People vs Charity Katanga

Known as one of the toughest female police officers, Katanga was on February 19 found guilty and sentenced to three years simple imprisonment for being in possession of 26 Higer Buses worth K26 million, and K1.5 million from the account which received money from the said properties.

Read more: Justice O’ Metre: Recap of cases involving politically-exposed persons, others; January, 2024

Lusaka Chief Resident Magistrate Davies Chibwili held that Katanga had failed to provide proof of how she obtained money to buy such properties and discounted the testimony of her uncle that he lent Katanga money.

Magistrate Chibwili said Katanga had put a stain on the uniform and the police service as she was chasing criminals when she too was one.

“It is important to pass a sentence that will send a clear signal to those of us in positions of responsibility to be honest and act appropriately in our offices. Because after been caught, the fall from grace is much harder than for an ordinary citizen,” he said.

Katanga, however, appealed to the High Court against the sentence while the Director of Public Prosecutions DPP, applied for the forfeiture to the State of the properties for being tainted.

Last Thursday, she was granted K100,000 in her own recognisance and two working sureties K500,000 each in their own recognition.

The People vs Francis Muchemwa & others

Francis Muchemwa, alias Commander 2, had his application asking to allow him temporal stay or squat in his house until conclusion of the criminal matter, thrown out by the Lusaka Magistrate Court.

Magistrate Chibwili in his ruling on the application said humanity cannot be used to blind ‘criminality’ in criminal proceedings.

Muchemwa had begged the Court to allow him squat in one of his house as he was homeless.

“We are concerned with the law and procedures in criminal proceedings and thus humanitarian considerations can not be invoked or be allowed to mask or interfere with the proceedings. The defence’s application is accordingly dismissed,” he said.

In this matter, Muchemwa and his companies, Friltech Zambia Limited and Altitude Properties are charged with six counts of possessing tainted property worth over K12 million and obtaining money through pecuniary advantages.

The People vs Batuke Imenda

The UPND Secretary-General, Batuke Imenda suffered a setback in his quest to stop his prosecution for hate speech when the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court declined to dismiss the matter where he is accused of referring to Catholic Archbishop Alick Banda as “the Lucifer of Zambia”

Magistrate Nsunge Chanda said the case commenced by PeP leader, Sean Tembo, was properly before the Court in accordance with Section 90 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC).

Magistrate Nsunge thus dismissed the application.

Imenda is expected to take plea this month should the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Gilbert Phiri grant consent to Tembo to prosecute the matter.

The DPP in a letter dated January 15, 2024, refused to grant president Tembo permission to privately prosecute the accused.

Tembo in his complaint stated that on May 28, 2023, Imenda at a press briefing which was also streamed on various online platforms, did utter that the Lusaka Archbishop Banda was the Lucifer of Zambia.

He contended the said statement by the ruling party’s Secretary-General constituted hate speech against the Archbishop.

“That the conduct of the accused is criminalised under Section 65 of the Cyber Security and Cyber Crimes Act no.2 of 2021 of the laws of Zambia,” he said.

Mwaba Mwangata vs Edgar Chagwa Lungu

An interesting debt complaint was filed against former President Edgar Lungu, in which he is alleged to have failed to pay for campaign materials worth K336,000.

Happy Mwaba Mwangata had sued the former President in the Lusaka Small Claims Court to compel him to pay the debt.

Mwangata stated that during the 2016 general elections he supplied campaign materials which included branded caps and wrist watches to the then PF Presidential candidate, Lungu, valued at K336,000.

He claimed several attempts to collect the debt from the defendant during his tenure as President and after he left had proved difficult as he has constantly been blocked by Lungu’s side, Chanda.

Christopher Mvunga vs Miles Sampa

Former Bank of Zambia (BoZ) Governor, Christopher Mvunga, sued Miles Sampa, demanding K100 million for alleging that he released money from the Central bank claimed to have been found with Lusaka Journalist Faith Musonda.

Mvunga contended in a statement of claim filed in the Lusaka High Court that the Matero Member of Parliament accused him of being dishonest, corrupt and incompetent, which had affected his reputation in society, especially in the financial industry.

In 2021, the State seized K65 million cash and US$57 found at the house of Lusaka Journalist, Musonda.

Sampa, a former Finance Deputy Minister on January 29, 2024, was alleged to have maliciously published on his Facebook Page which has more than 750 followers, an article titled “FORMER BANK GOVERNOR ORDERED WITHDRAW OF CASH GIVEN TO FAITH MUSONDA” and mentioned the plaintiff by name in the article.

But Sampa denied defaming the plaintiff arguing that the latter being a public figure was not immune to public accountability and scrutiny.

Sampa contended that his statement was a fair comment on a matter of public interest and asked the Lusaka High Court to dismiss the case for irregular.

Milingo Lungu vs Attorney-General, Administrator- General

Former Konkola Copper Mine (KCM) Provisional Liquidator, Milingo Lungu, discontinued the matter in which he was challenging the lifting of his immunity from prosecution, out of court.

Last November, the Constitutional Court adjourned to February, 2024, to allow the Petitioner, the Attorney-General and the Administrator-General engage in an excuria settlement .

Milingo had now filed a notice of discontinuce into court, stating that the parties had agreed to settle the matter outside court.

“That given the happenings in this matter, it is my considered view that this matter be taken out so as to allow parties discuss its resolution away from court,” he said.

ZCCM-IH vs KCM, Vedanta Resources

The Lusaka High Court granted KCM Court to convene meeting of creditors to consider a scheme of arrangement aimed at saving the mining firm from complete insolvency.

Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) is set to meet creditors to save Zambia’s largest copper mine from complete insolvency .

Provisional Liquidator, Celine Meena Nair, in her submissions to the High Court stated that during the subsistence of the provisional liquidation and under the care of her predecessor, Milingo Lungu, the mines’ financial standing deteriorated.

Nair said KCM’s actual debt as at December, 2023 was in the region of US$4,183,488,281.37 but expected to rise to approximately US$4,303,746,454.82 by March, 2024.

She pleaded with the Court to grant the exparte order to allow KCM to enter into negotiations with its creditors to enable it service the debts over a period of time.

Nair said this would save KCM from collapsing completely.

She submitted that maintaining the company as a going concern would be in the best interests of all stakeholders.

Gerald Sinkamba vs Attorney-General

An interesting case was filed in the Lusaka High Court in which a businessman of Mandevu compound sued the Attorney-General claiming K17 million for false imprisonment and contraction of HIV while in custody.

He stated in his claim that he was arrested on February 2 ,2022, on charges of aggravated robbery and was in detention till July 13, 2023, when he was acquitted by the court.

He claimed that it was during the period of detention that he contracted numerous diseases, among them, Tuberculosis, HIV and Anemia and was admitted at University Teaching Hospital.

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