Lusaka lawyer Eddie Mwitwa has stopped representing folk musician Mumba Yachi in his immigration case.
Mwitwa, who is also Law Association of Zambia vice president, did not however file an application to formally withdraw from representing the accused, a decision which angered the court.
But Mumba has explained to the court that Mwitwa had stopped representing him due to financial constraints.
When the matter came up for trial yesterday, a lawyer who came to Mumba’s aide on probono basis applied for an adjournment saying she only received instructions on Friday last week.
Kasumpa Kabalata asked for seven days in which to explore all the possible options and to liase with relevant offices regarding the matter.
But the Public prosecutor Brian Sianyengo objected to the application to adjourn the matter saying a witness had travelled all the way from Mokambo border post to Lusaka and that the accused had ample time in which to engage counsel of his choice.
At that point magistrate Ruth Kapulo asked Mumba why Mwitwa and Mwape Bwalya from Mwenye and Mwitwa advocates have stopped representing him.
The court wondered why the lawyers were not before court asking whether their interest was to help him out of prison.
She said the court had not received formal application from Mwitwa.
Mumba told then explained to the court that Mwitwa had stopped representing him due to financial constraints.
In her ruling the magistrate expressed disappointment with the manner in which Mwitwa and his co counsel behaved by deciding not to come to court without any notification.
The magistrate said if the lawyers were not interested, they were supposed to file a notice to withdraw or file verbally.
The court has since given the new lawyer seven days in which to get full instructions.
After Mumba was arrested, Zambia Association of Musicians Njoya Tee issued a statement saying ZAM lawyers would represent him.
Details in this case are that Mumba, a Congolese national, did enter Zambia through Mokambo border post control and continued to stay unlawfully in the country without a valid permit or authority from the immigration department which offence happened between January 1,2007 and August 28,2017.
The accused is in the second count between January 1 2015 and March 6 2015 alleged to have willfully and with intent to deceive for the purpose of obtaining a Zambian green national registration card no. 40573/10/1,did give false information to a public officer that his father and mother were Zambia citizens when infact not.
He is also alleged to have willfully and with intent to deceive and for the purposes of obtaining a Zambian passport no. ZN550035 did make a false statement to a passport officer that his father and mother were Zambian citizens when infact not which incident happened between March 2015 August 3 201