The Lusaka Magistrate Court on Wednesday sentenced the son of second republic President Frederick Chiluba to eight months imprisonment with hard labour for stealing a mobile phone.
Frederick Chiluba Jr, a retired ZAF officer who graduated in 2014 was convicted of stealing a Samsung S7 edge, valued at K8, 500.
Fredrick Chiluba junior, 34, was facing one count of theft for allegedly stealing Brenda Chisha’s phone in September this year.
The court heard that Chiluba Jr stole the device from Chisha, on 2 September 2017 and traded it for drugs in Chibolya.
In her testimony, Chisha told magistrate Chabala that she met Chiluba in Woodlands around 18:00 hours on September 2, 2017 and he asked to use her phone.
“I have known him for years and it was an S7 so I gave him and he used it for two minutes then gave it back to me. About 10 minutes later, he came and asked to use the phone again and I gave him but he started moving further and further away from where we were. I then asked Isaac, who will be a witness to get my phone from him and that was the last time I saw the phone,” Chisha had testified.
“On Sunday he was caught and taken to Kabwata Police. When I asked him where the phone was, he said he had forgotten it somewhere. That same day, the uncle came and assured me that they would buy me another phone.”
Chisha suggested that she wanted to withdraw the case as they were family friends but magistrate Chabala ordered that she would proceed to hear the witnesses.
In his defence, Chiluba denied stealing the phone and insisted that he returned it to the complainant.
He recounted that on the material day, he was having drinks with Chisha at Mommas Pub in Woodlands when he asked to use her phone to call his uncle because his phone had gone off.
The court heard that with Chisha’s permission, Chiluba called his uncle who told him to call back after a few minutes as he was driving.
Chiluba said after few minutes, he walked to Chisha’s table who had left to join her friends and again asked to use the phone again.
He told the court that he managed to call his uncle who said they meet him at the entrance of the pub.
Chiluba said he then went and put the phone on the table where Chisha was seated and thanked her.
He said when his uncle arrived, he got into his vehicle but that before they could leave, Chisha’s friends followed him and asked where he had taken the phone but he told them that he left it on the table.
Chiluba said he then left for another club in Northmead with his uncle, and that whilst there, he received a call and was asked where he had taken Chisha’s phone and he told the caller that he had left it on the table.
He said the following day whilst in Kabwata, he met Chisha’s boyfriend who picked up police to arrest him even after he told them that he did not steal the phone.
Chiluba said he was later taken to Kabwata Police Station where he was arrested for theft of the same phone.
Delivering judgement on Wednesday, Lusaka Magistrate Nthandose Chabala said she handed Chiluba Jr a custodial sentence as a deterrence to him and other would-be offenders.
She said she was satisfied that there was enough evidence connecting him to the theft of the phone, and the prosecution had proved its case beyond all reasonable doubt.