Former Mines minister Maxwell Mwale has been found with a case to answer for alleged abuse of authority of office and being in possession of 5,000 bicycles worth more than KR1 million (K1 billion), property suspected to be proceeds of crime.
Lusaka Resident Magistrate Lameck Mwale has since placed Mwale on his defence along with his co-accused Zhongui Mining, a company he is alleged to have facilitated the issuance of a mining licence.
The magistrate said in his ruling that a prima facie case has been sufficiently established by the prosecution against the duo.
Mwale, who is MMD Malambo Member of Parliament (MP), immediately informed the court, through his lawyer Sakwiba Sikota, that he would call three witnesses.
The mining firm, through its lawyer Bonaventure Mutale, indicated that it may call one witness.
Mwale is jointly charged with Charles Shi, a director at the Chinese mining company Zhongui International Mining Industry Group Limited.
It is alleged in the first count that Mwale, between May 1, 2009 and August 31, 2011, abused the authority of his office by facilitating the issuance of mining licences to Zhongui International Mining Industry Group Limited.Particulars indicated that this was in breach of the issuance of mining licences procedure.
In the second count, particulars are that between July 1 and August 31, 2011, Mwale is alleged to have imported 5,000 bicycles valued at more than K1 billion suspected to be proceeds of crime.
The matter was adjourned to August 15, this year for opening of defence.
[Times of Zambia]