THE Lusaka Magistrates Court has ordered former President Frederick Chiluba to appear before the ad hoc committee of doctors to determine his fitness to stand trial.
The committee of doctors from the University Teaching Hospital (UTH)
recommended Chilubaâ€™s evacuation to South Africa for specialist treatment last year when it noted that he was unable to stand trial at that time.
Acting deputy High Court Registrar Jones Chinyama, made the order yesterday following an application by Task Force on Corruption prosecutor Mutembo Nchito who wanted trial dates fixed in the matter in which Chiluba is jointly charged with Access Financial Services director, Aaron Chungu and Lusaka businessman, Faustin Kabwe.
The trio are charged with theft by public servant of about US$500,000.
“I therefore order that the medical condition of the first accused (Chiluba) should be reviewed by the same ad hoc committee of medical experts so that we are guided,â€ Mr Chinyama said.
â€œOf course the views of the prosecution will be taken into consideration.
The matter stands adjourned to May 31 (2007) for the presentation of the medical report and possible setting of trial dates,” he said.
Mr Nchito told the court that the State was anxious to fix trial dates.
He, however, said the State did not know what the defenceâ€™s instructions were.
Standing in for Chilubaâ€™s defence lawyers, Diana Bunting of Simeza Sangwa Associates, told Mr Chinyama that Chiluba was still unwell and was not able to stand before the court.
Ms Bunting said the defence would be ready for fixing of the dates sometime in August because the former president was yet to undergo another medical review in South Africa in July.
But Mr Nchito said he had heard the defence but that there were issues of concern he had to raise.
â€œYour honour, there are two issues, one is that the first accused has been active in the public domain and engaged in strenuous activities than attending court,” he said.
The State was of the view that Chiluba was able to attend court.
“Your honour, if the first accused is unable to attend court in person, equipment can be made available for him to attend at the comfort of his home,” he said.
In a ruling, Mr Chinyama noted that just like the State had submitted, it was evident that the matter had been pending for sometime because of Chiluba’s poor health.
At this point, Chiluba’s lawyer Robert Simeza was in court and wondered if the two weeks to enable his client appear before the ad hoc committee at UTH was enough for the report to be presented before the court.
Mr Simeza said the local team of doctors still needed to get a report from doctors that have been attending to Chiluba in South Africa.
But Mr Nchito assured the court that everything was under control since the State was the one to organise and enable Chiluba appear before the committee.