UPND cadres’ case fails to take off due to lack of video facilities
The case in which five opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) cadres are facing charges of conduct likely to cause the breach of peace failed to take place today due to challenges with court room facilities.
Aaron Sililo Pumulo, Joseph Mazonda, Lemmy Mukoba, Patrick Ntalasha, and Newton Chisuntu are alleged to have conducted themselves in a manner likely to cause the breach of the peace by blocking public roads at the junction of Lagos Road and Addis Ababa Drive in Lusaka on June 6, 2012, contrary to the laws of Zambia.
Defence lawyer Martha Mushipe told the court that her team was facing challenges as regards to court room facilities for watching video, where some of the evidence is based.
“We did not notify the court in good time so as such we feel that the matter should be adjourned to a date to be advised by the court as evidence is required to make a meaningful representation,” she said.
But state prosecutors argued that the matter has been dragging for a long time and advised that such arrangements should be done a day before in order to avoid adjournments.
The prosecutors said they were aware that the accused persons need to be given a fair trial and hoped that the defence will make pre-arrangements so that there were no adjournments.
At this point, Ms. Mushipe said they could proceed with only one witness and stop or wait for the facilities to be made available.
Magistrate Lameck N’gambi, who is presiding over the matter, said he had to reluctantly grant the adjournment and has since advised the defence team to put their house in order.
The matter has been adjourned to March 22, 2013 for defence.
And the court has adjourned the cases of two former ministers Austin Liato and Moses Muteteka.
Liato’s case, which was supposed to be concluded today, could not take place since the magistrate presiding over the matter has travelled out of town.
The case has rescheduled for April 4 and 9, 2013 while Muteteka’s case has been adjourned to March 21, 2013.
Liato is charged with two counts of abuse of authority of office.
In the first count, he is alleged to have in June 2010 abused his authority of office as Member of Parliament (MP) for Kaoma Central and Minister of Labour and Social Security by facilitating the sinking of two boreholes at his farm in Mwembeshi.
The boreholes were supposed to be sunk in Kaoma Central Constituency.
In the second count, Mr. Liato on unknown dates but between May 14, 2010 and May 19, 2010 allegedly facilitated the diversion of two hammer mills which were allegedly meant for the people of Kaoma.
And Muteteka’s case could not take place since the magistrate is attending a seminar.
Muteteka is charged with eight counts of abuse of authority of office contrary to section 99 (1) of the penal code chapter 87 of the laws of Zambia and one count of theft contrary to section 272 of the penal code chapter 87 of the laws of Zambia.