6 Zambians to hang for murder
Supreme Court judge Gregory Phiri has sentenced six men of Lusaka to death by hanging for killing an Anderson Security Limited driver and stealing K1.5 billion belonging to Zanaco six years ago.
The judge has also sentenced two men of Lusaka’s Kanyama township to death by hanging for killing a police officer and stealing two AK47 rifles five years ago.
Mr Justice Phiri, sitting as High Court judge, sentenced Dick Tembo, Field Banda, Mabvuto Banda, Peter Tembo, Christopher Njovu and Charles Phiri after finding them guilty of shooting Blaston Zimba dead and stealing the money along Great North Road in 2007.
The six were charged with murder and aggravated robbery contrary to the Laws of Zambia.
They were jointly charged with Moses Mwenya who died in prison and Harrison Chungu who was acquitted yesterday due to lack of evidence linking him to the offences.
Delivering judgement in Lusaka yesterday, Mr Justice Phiri said the six connived to ambush the Anderson Security cash-in-transit van between Landless Corner and Liteta and murdered Mr Zimba on the spot.
He said the ambush was a well-planned act by the bandits in conjunction with Tembo, who was a senior security guard stationed at Zanaco, and Njovu, who was the Anderson Security cash-in-transit manager.
“I find the accused persons guilty of murder by common desire and aggravated robbery and I convict each one of them accordingly.
“None of the convicts is allowed by law to escape the penalty of death by hanging and I therefore make the sad pronouncement that each one of you will in future, be hanged by the neck until pronounced dead by a medical doctor,” Mr Justice Phiri said.
He said the prosecution has proven beyond reasonable doubt that there is circumstantial evidence linking the six to the murder of Mr Zimba and stealing the K1.5 billion during the robbery.
Mr Justice Phiri said Tembo, who was a senior security officer, was supposed to ensure that the van was accompanied by a Zambia Police officer.
He said Njovu was the supervisor of the cash-in-transit department but he deliberately failed to ensure that the van was secure to transfer money from Lusaka to Kabwe.
And Mr Justice Phiri sentenced Fireman Lungu and Zunzo Phiri to death by hanging for killing Eugene Chitankwa, a police officer, and stealing two AK47 rifles, government property worth US$200.
Lungu and Phiri were charged with murder and aggravated robbery contrary to the laws of Zambia. The two while armed with an Uzi machine gun, opened fire at Mr Chitankwa and two other police officers who were on police patrol in Chipata overspill area in 2008.
The Uzi is a family of Israeli open bolt, blowback-operated submachine guns.
The judge said what was aggravating is that the two used a machine gun to attack police officers on duty, killing one of them and stealing firearms.
He said the punishment for murder and aggravated robbery is death by hanging and the two shall be hanged to death, according to the law.
“I find the accused guilty as charged and convict them accordingly. The law is very clear that people who commit such felonies shall be punished by death.
I accordingly condemn the two of you to death by hanging until pronounced dead. May God have mercy on you,” Mr Justice Phiri said.
“It is not the first time this court is trying and sentencing Mr Fireman Lungu for aggravated robbery. He first appeared in this court in 2000 when he was jointly charged with his brother on four counts of attacking farmers and retirees in Lusaka,” he said.
Mr Justice Phiri said as soon as Lungu was pardoned from prison, he ‘graduated’ from attacking farmers and retirees and immediately embarked on his ‘criminal enterprise’ of attacking police officers on duty.
Zambia’s death penalty was last enforced 15 years ago when the then sitting President Frederick Chiluba signed some death warrants.