The trial of former Foreign Affairs Minister, Joseph Malanji, and former Secretary to the Treasury, Fredson Yamba, faced another delay as prosecutors were reportedly out of jurisdiction. The two officials are jointly charged with corruption and possession of goods deemed to be proceeds of crime.
The matter, brought before Lusaka Resident Magistrate Ireen Washimanga, witnessed State prosecutor Lewis Kandela applying for an adjournment, citing the unavailability of two prosecutors who were out of jurisdiction, with one handling a matter on the Copperbelt. The State sought an adjournment to December 13, 2023.
In response, defense lawyer Jackson Mwamba objected to the application, expressing dissatisfaction with the lack of evidence provided by the prosecutor. Mwamba argued for more details on the prosecutors’ whereabouts, given the seriousness of the matter.
During the court proceeding, lawyer Makebi Zulu echoed concerns about the compelling nature of the reasons for an adjournment, emphasizing the time-consuming nature of repeated delays.
Magistrate Washimanga expressed displeasure with the absence of the two prosecutors and the lack of detailed information about their whereabouts. She emphasized the importance of ensuring the proceedings are conducted efficiently, expressing the view that other prosecutors could attend to the matter.
The case involves charges against Malanji for possession of goods deemed to be proceeds of crime, including a helicopter and the Gibson Royal Hotel in Kitwe. Yamba faces charges related to the alleged transfer of funds to Zambia’s mission account in Turkey for real estate procurement without following applicable laws and procedures.
Magistrate Washimanga adjourned the trial to December 7, 2023, for continuation, as the legal proceedings continue to navigate logistical challenges.