Mahtani found with case to answer
A LUSAKA Magistrates’ Court has found Lusaka businessman Rajan Mahtani and his lawyer John Sangwa with a case to answer for alleged forgery, uttering false documents and fabricating evidence.
High Court deputy director of court operations Charles Kafunda, sitting as magistrate, said the prosecution has established a prima facie case against Mahtani and Sangwa who were put on their defence when the matter came up for ruling on whether they have a case to answer or not in Lusaka yesterday.
This is in a case in which Mahtani and Sangwa are charged with five counts of alleged forgery, uttering false documents and fabricating evidence.
Mahtani, 62, and Sangwa, 45, have denied the charges.
“I am indebted to both submissions made by the State and defence, I find the two accused persons with a case to answer on all the charges and put them on their defence,” he said.
Mr Kafunda said he was aware that the defence lawyers could not proceed with defence yesterday but he just wanted to find out if the accused will call witnesses, give sworn-in evidence or if they will choose to remain silent.
But one of the defence lawyers, Stephen Malama, said he was not sure whether the duo will not call witnesses, remain silent or give evidence on oath.
Mr Malama said the defence lawyers need to consult Mahtani and Sangwa on how to proceed with their defence.
“We are not ready to proceed with defence because we need to consult with our clients on how best to go about it,” he said.
Particulars of count one are that Sangwa and Mahtani, on July 12, 2010, and August 30, 2010, allegedly forged a letter purporting to show that it was genuinely prepared and signed by then Bank of Zambia deputy governor Denny Kalyalya when in fact not.
It is alleged in the second count that Sangwa, on July 28, 2010, uttered a false letter purported to be from Bank of Zambia to Aaron Zulu, a commissioner at the Drug Enforcement Commission.
Count three alleges that Sangwa, on July 28 this year in Lusaka, uttered a false letter purported to be from Bank of Zambia to Lusaka lawyer Sakwiba Sikota of Central Chambers.
Particulars of count four are that Sangwa, on July 28, 2010, uttered a false letter purported to be from Bank of Zambia to Jane Kumwenda, a secretary at Bank of Zambia.
It is alleged in count five that the two, on August 3 this year, fabricated evidence by filing in court a false letter dated July 12, 2010, purported to have been written by DrKalyalya.
The matter will come up for defence May 6.
Meanwhile, principal resident magistrate David Simusamba has adjourned to today the case in which Mahtani and David Kamalarajan are charged with one count of obtaining credit by false pretences involving over K6.5 billion.
Mr Simusamba deferred the matter when one of the prosecutors informed the court that the prosecution was not ready to commence trial yesterday.
This is in a case in which Mahtani and Kamalarajan jointly and acting with other unknown persons in incurring a debt, obtained K6.5 billion from Finance Bank Zambia Limited, falsely pretending the money was working capital for Cladava Mining Limited when in fact not.
The offence is alleged to have been committed on dates unknown but between February 1 and 8, 2008.
[Zambia Daily Mail]