The eleven suspects implicated in both the Gold Scam and espionage case will continue to be held in custody until further notice, following a ruling by Chief Resident Magistrate Davies Chibwili at the Lusaka Magistrate Court. The court admitted the Certificate of Denial of bail issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Gilbert Phiri, thereby affirming the DPP’s authority to issue such a certificate in cases deemed prejudicial to the nation’s interests.
Magistrate Chibwili upheld the arguments presented by the DPP, asserting that granting bail to the suspects would be detrimental to Zambia’s interests. This decision follows objections by the defense lawyers, who questioned the validity of the Certificate of Denial of Bail, citing the Magistrate Court’s lack of jurisdiction to handle espionage cases.
However, Magistrate Chibwili clarified that the certificate was properly before the Lusaka Magistrate Court because the case record had been filed with it.
Furthermore, the Magistrate reserved a ruling for the following day regarding fresh arguments presented by defense lawyer Martha Mushipe. She argued that the DPP should provide reasons for issuing the Certificate of Denial of Bail, contending that the denial of bail for the suspects was unconstitutional since the espionage charge is bailable.
In response, the Magistrate directed the defense lawyers to file a summons for the Gold Scam suspects’ bail application, acknowledging the argument that their espionage case is bailable. The plea for the bail application had been submitted by defense lawyer Makebi Zulu.
This legal development stems from a case involving eleven suspects, including six Zambians and five Egyptians, charged with espionage due to their alleged connection to the Gold Scam that was uncovered at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA) on August 13. Among the Zambian suspects are Kenneth Kaunda International Airport Police Commanding Officer Robson Moonga, State Security Officer Francis Mateyo, Commercial Pilot Patrick Kawanu, Accountant Oswald Diangamo, and businessmen Shadrick Kasanda and Dr. Jim Belemu. The five Egyptian suspects include Walid Botros, Mounir Awad, Mohamed Gooda, Yasser Abdelghafor, and Michael Botros.
The court’s rulings on bail and the overall progress of the case will be closely monitored by the public and legal experts.