Former presidential spokesperson Amos Chanda has been threatened with bail revocation by Magistrate Irene Wishimanga if he continues to abscond court proceedings. Chanda is facing two counts of theft and destroying evidence.
During the latest hearing, Chanda’s lawyer asked for an adjournment as his client was nowhere to be seen. Magistrate Wishimanga warned Chanda that if he does not show up for the next hearing, she will revoke his bail.
Chanda is accused of stealing property belonging to the Zambia Daily Mail, a state-owned newspaper. He is also accused of destroying evidence related to the theft. The first count alleges that Chanda, together with others, stole several items from the newspaper’s offices. The second count alleges that Chanda destroyed a memory card containing CCTV footage that could have been used as evidence.
Chanda was initially granted bail, but with strict conditions. One of these conditions was that he attend all court proceedings. However, Chanda has failed to appear in court on several occasions, leading to the warning from the magistrate.
The case has generated a lot of interest in Zambia, as Chanda was a close aide to former President Edgar Lungu. Many see the case as a test of the country’s commitment to fighting corruption, as well as a measure of the government’s willingness to prosecute high-profile individuals.
In a statement, the Zambia Daily Mail welcomed the court’s decision to warn Chanda about bail revocation. The newspaper’s managing director, Isaac Chipampe, said that the paper was committed to seeing justice done.
“We are happy that the court has sent a strong message to Mr. Chanda that he cannot continue to flout the law with impunity,” Chipampe said. “We hope that this case will be a wake-up call to others who think that they can get away with stealing from the public.”
Chanda’s lawyer, however, expressed disappointment with the court’s decision. He argued that his client had legitimate reasons for missing the hearing and that his absence was not deliberate.
“We will be filing an application to have the decision reviewed,” the lawyer said. “We believe that Mr. Chanda has not breached any of the conditions of his bail and that the court has acted unfairly.”
The case is set to continue in the coming weeks, with Chanda expected to appear before the court. The magistrate has warned that she will not hesitate to revoke his bail if he fails to attend.
Many in Zambia will be watching the case closely, with some seeing it as a key test of the government’s commitment to fighting corruption. The country has been plagued by high levels of corruption in recent years, with many ordinary Zambians feeling that they are being left behind while a small elite enrich themselves at the expense of the public.