A senior officer working for the Department of Immigration in Ndola has been implicated in the alleged attempted child trafficking case involving eight (8) Croatian nationals.
Gloria Sakulenga, 36, has been arrested and jointly charged with the eight Croatians.
She has been charged with four counts of attempted child trafficking.
It is alleged that on 7th December ,2022, in Ndola, Sakulenga attempted to traffic four child within the territory boundaries of Zambia for the purpose of exploitation.
Attempted trafficking in children is contrary to section 3A (1) and 12 of Human Trafficking Act No.11 of 2008 as Amended by Act No. 16 of 2022 of the laws of Zambia.
When the matter came up on Friday, Sakulenga pleaded not guilty to all the four counts.
Meanwhile, the eight Croatians also pleaded not guilty to the same charges, which they were earlier given.
The eight are Zoran Subosic 52, a guitarist in a well-known band Hladno Pivo or Cold beer, Immovic Subosic,41, an administrator, Damir Magic 44 an electrical technician, Nadic Magic 45, a technician, Ladislav Persic 42, a medical doctor, Aleksandra Persic 43 a hair salon attendant, Noah Kraljevic 40, a programme director and Uvona Kraljevic 36, a dog handler.
The charges alleged that on December 7 last year, the four couples acted together in attempting to traffic four children of Congolese origin.
And in an application for bail pending trial, their lawyer Kelvin Silwimba from Legal Aid Board applied for bail pending trial stating that his clients were not a flight risk.
“Their passports are with the Immigration Department and are willing to raise traceable sureties if granted bail,” he said.
However, senior state advocate
Mahape Libakeni objected the bail application in fear that the accused persons might escape from the country.
“We oppose to the application, the eight are foreign nationals and have not provided any traceable aboard. The crime charged with involves movement of people across the boarders,” he said.
However, Principal resident Magistrate Jennifer Bwalya adjourned the matter to February 14 to rule on whether or not the eight can be granted bail pending trial.
Meanwhile, Sakulenga is on police bond while the eight Croatians are in police custody.
The re-arrested eight (8) Croatian nationals were this week formally slapped with fresh charges of attempted child trafficking.
The Zambian authorities further revoked the temporary residence permits granted to the suspects last month.
On Monday this week, the State discontinued the earlier matter of attempted child trafficking of four children from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) charged on the four Croatian couples.
The Immigration Department on 7th December, 2022 in collaboration with police in Ndola stopped an alleged illegal adoption involving four Congolese children who were destined for Croatia.
The four children in question are being kept by the social welfare department at a facility in Ndola.
The youngest of the four juvenile victims is only 15 months old.