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.
The first month of 2024 started with interesting sentences of two social media vloggers, Simon Mwewa Chitambala and opposition party leader, Chilufya Tayali.
The People vs Sedrick Kasanda and three others
Lusaka businessman, Sedrick Kasanda, and three others were rearrested immediately after a nolle prosequi had been entered in a matter they were accused of obtaining money by false pretense and money laundering involving about US$500,000.
The police later charged him and three others with seven counts of obtaining money by false pretence and possession of property suspected to be proceeds of crime.
The suspects were slammed with another charge of fraudulent dealing with metals or minerals.
Kasanda is jointly charged with businessmen, Dominic Twinjika and Treasure Malandala and a company known as Luwowoshi Mining Limited, to which they pleaded not guilty.
They were initially charged with six counts of obtaining money by false pretences and money laundering, to which they had pleaded not guilty.
The suspects are accused among other counts of duping a South African, Anton Russell, and obtaining US$72,160 by pretending that they would sell him 82-kilograms of gold.
It was also alleged that the accused within the same period jointly and whilst acting together, acquired and used US$522,165 deemed to be proceeds of crime.
The People vs Simon Mwewa Chitambala
Social media blogger, Simon Mwewa Chitambala, had a brief interaction with inmates in Mwembeshi, after Lusaka Magistrate Court sentenced him to six months imprisonment for malicious damage to property.
Magistrate Fine Mayambu found Chitambala guilty of maliciously damaging tyres of a Toyota Hiace vehicle belonging to a complainant Ricky Nyimbili.
On June 2, 2023, Nyimbili had parked his mini bus on Kalusha Bwalya road waiting for his turn to load passengers.
The convict used a sharp instrument to deflate two tyres without saying a word to the complainant.
Chitambala was, however, out on K20,000 bail pending determination of his appeal against the conviction and sentence to the High Court.
In his appeal, Chitambala argued that the prosecution had not produced any proof as the person to have deflated the tyres of the Hiace bus.
The People vs Chilufya Tayali
Economic and Progress Party (EPP) president, Chilufya Tayali, spent some hours in incarceration after he was sentenced to a fine of K20,000 or in default nine months imprisonment by Lusaka Magistrate, Idah Phiri, for assualt on a police officer.
Tayali, 48, was convicted of a single count of assault on a police officer contrary to section 250(b) of the Penal Code Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia.
Tayali was said to have thrown a flask bottle at number 51391 Woman Constable, Melody Malama, a police officer employed in the Zambia Police Service during the execution of her duties at Chilenje police station.
Tayali’s wife, Tsega, had reportedly brought food for her husband in custody and was requested by the officer to taste it as a procedure when someone brings food for the suspects in custody.
It was said that Tayali got annoyed and stated that his wife could not poison him, he thereafter got the food, threw it on the floor and later picked a flask bottle and hit the female officer on the face.
She reportedly sustained a swollen and painful face.
Magistrate Phiri found Tayali guilty of the offence and sentenced him to a fine of K20,000 to be paid the same day or in default nine months imprisonment.
Tayali who had pleaded for leniency as he was a husband and breadwinner managed to pay the fine.
The People vs John Nundwe
Renowned Lusaka clergyman, John Nundwe, alias Bishop John General, appeared twice at the Lusaka Magistrate Court for allegedly raping a married woman of his church.
Nundwe, overseer of Miracle Impact Ministries International in Matero Township failed to take plea January 8 and 11, as the indictment was not available.
He, however, had his bond extended.
It was alleged that on November 24, Bishop John General had gone to the victim’s home to pray for her following miscarriages but instead raped her.
According to the police report, the incident happened between 13:00 hours and 14:00 hours in Kahale area .
In the company of another man, suspected to be his bodyguard, the accused told the victim that he wanted to check all the rooms of the house.
However, when he reached the matrimonial bedroom, he allegedly forced himself on the woman while reportedly pointing a gun at her.
The husband to the victim arrived and greeted the suspected bodyguard who sat in the living room and proceeded to the bedroom where he caught the Bishop having carnal knowledge of his wife.
Upon noticing the presence of the woman’s husband, Bishop John General allegedly ran outside naked and managed to jump the wall leaving all his clothes, a cell phone and a motor vehicle, Chrysler Registration number BCD 372.
Sean Tembo vs Batuke Imenda
Progress and Economic Party president, Sean Tembo, had his request to privately prosecute UPND Secretary-General, Batuke Imenda, for allegedly calling Catholic Archbishop Alick Banda “the Lucifer of Zambia”.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Gilbert Phiri, in his response letter dated January 15, 2024, said Tembo had not availed any cogent evidence to show that Imenda committed the offence of Hate Speech by means of a Computer System as required by section 65 of the Cyber Security and Cyber Crimes Act of the Laws of Zambia.
Tembo, however, told Magistrate Nsunge Chanda that he had written back to the DPP on January 22, 2024, and enclosed a flash drive with video evidence clearly to demonstrate that Imenda used a computer system when he committed the alleged offence.
He had also informed the DPP that he had four witnesses ready to testify in court that the accused did utter hate speech and used a computer system to do so.
The matter was adjourned to February 8, 2024, to allow the DPP decide whether the complaint could still not be permitted to prosecute the case in view of the said available evidence.
Tembo stated that on May 28, 2023, Imenda at a press briefing, streamed live online, did utter that the Lusaka Archbishop Banda was the “Lucifer of Zambia”.
He contended that the said statement by the ruling party’s Secretary-General constituted hate speech against the Archbishop.
ACC vs Francis Muchemwa
The Anti-Corruption Commission filed an application to the Economic and Financial Crimes Court, to have K13 million worth of seized properties belonging to party cadre, Francis Muchemwa, alias, Commander 2, forfeited to the State.
The Anti-Graft Agency in its affidavit in support of the notice of motion for the non-based conviction forfeiture order stated that Muchemwa was on the ZESCO payroll as an employee and between June 1, 2015 and August 1, 2021, he obtained total salaries amounting to K483,761.
He received allowances for trips undertaken out of Lusaka and that the total sum of money earned between June 1, 2015 and August 1, 2021 was K141,400.
It was submitted that the movable and immovable properties acquired between July 2020 and December 2021 be forfeited to the State for being tainted.
The seized properties which are a subject of forefeiture are his K2.5 million dwelling house known as, property no. L/26392/M, no.L/28477/M/H and L/28477/M/J both worth K3.4 million and L/26395/M worth K4.5 million.
The said properties are located in Silverest, Chongwe district.
ACC also wants the movable properties that were found at property L/26395/M valued at K461,664 given to the State.
In addition, the Commission submitted that the two vehicles, FAW Truck Registration number BAR 9059ZM and BAR 9058ZM valued at $62,000 each be forfeited to the State.
Muchemwa, his companies namely Altitude Properties Limited, Friltech Networks Zambia Limited and Massbreeds Investments Zambia Limited are cited as first to fourth interested parties respectively.
DPP vs Re-property
The Economic and Financial Crimes Court also recorded another non-based forfeiture order application, from the Director of Public Prosecutions to have properties valued at K91 million owned by former Zambia Air Force commander, Eric Mwaba Chimese, forfeited to the State.
The DPP, however, did acknowledge that Chimese was last year, acquitted of charges of abuse of authority and money laundering in relation to the said properties.
The non-based conviction forfeiture application was based on the belief that the properties which included the nine fully furnished apartments were acquired through proceeds of crime
The seized properties included subdivision F/2303/Q 4th Street, Ibex Hill, Farm 4302/313 located in Eureka Baobab Area Musekese Drive in Lusaka and Part of F/181a/C/1 Mungwi road, Lusaka West.
The DPP, Gilbert Phiri, also wanted 10 by 49 inch Samsung Television sets valued at K48,458, K90,000, US$107, 100 pounds, 1 Yen and US$10,000 also forfeited to the State.
Sedrick Kasanda vs Attorney General
Early January, Sedrick Kasanda, who faced a charge of Espionage filed a lawsuit against the Attorney General, contesting the illegal seizure of his Ibex Hill house and other properties.
In the petition before the Economic and Financial Crimes Court, Kasanda contended that the properties seized by the State agency, Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) were legitimately acquired.
He said on August 17, 2023, after a search was conducted at his residence, the State seized the property known as Plot No. 19 Main Street Ibex Hill Lusaka and all those properties situated thereon property.
The said seizure was allegedly executed under the Authority of section 15 of the Prohibition and Prevention of Money Laundering Act No. 14 of 2001, citing reasonable grounds to believe that the properties are liable to seizure.
Kasanda is jointly charged with four others for Espionage linked to the gold gate scandal involving over US$5.6 million at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in August, 2023.
The Petitioner lamented that it was unjust for the State to confiscate his properties based on suspicion and not evidence.
He asked the Court to compel DEC to return all his properties that were seized.
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