Medical Stores employees plead not guilty to theft

Magistrates Court: File picture

Seven people accused of stealing drugs worth over K6 million from Medical Stores Limited in Lusaka have pleaded not guilty to three charges.

And the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court has dismissed an application to have the bail conditions reviewed by the four accused persons who are still in custody.

Meanwhile, magistrate Greenwell Malumani embarrassed a Legal Aid Assistant when he told her that she had no right to address him when she hadn’t been admitted to the bar.

This is in a matter in which three Medical Stores employees; Paul Bwalya and Kalaluka Munyandekwa being warehouse receiving assistants and Ananias Simumba a driver as well as two Congolese nationals are jointly charged with two others for theft of assorted drugs.

When the matter came up before magistrate Malumani today, the accused denied the allegations.

The court however dismissed an application by the four accused persons who wanted the bail conditions to reviewed.

Magistrate Malumani had granted the four K40,000 kwacha bail in their own recognisance with two working sureties each bound at K40, 000 and employed in government above the rank of clerks.

The accused namely Ntambwe Chikomba, Patrick Elitie ,Oliver Chipapala and Munyandekwa asked the court to review the conditions as they had difficulties in meeting them.

The accused are charged with breaking into Medical Stores with intent to commit a felony on August 20, 2017 among other charges.

But magistrate Malumani said he was empowered under law to set out adequate bail conditions for justice to take place.

Magistrate Malumani said nothwithstanding their innocence until proven guilty, he took into account the responsibilities of sureties in a serious matter.

He said the requirement of a surety to be Lusaka based was to the advantage of an arresting officer in an event that they didn’t comply with the conditions.

Meanwhile, magistrate Malumani told a lawyer from the Legal Aid Board that she had no right to stand before him as she had not been admitted to the bar.

Gladys Kasoma, a legal aid assistant, stood up to represent two of the accused persons as their counsel was not available, a move which the court questioned.

“You have no right to address me, you can’t have audience with me unless you have a letter indicating that you are in class at ZIALE,” said magistrate Malumani.

“Are you admitted to the bar? Answer my question!”

Kasoma was put in an awkward position but told magistrate Malumani that she had written her ZIALE exams and was waiting for the results.

After the court discovered that Kasoma was employed by Legal Aid Board, he tried to down play the embarrassment he had caused her by stating that she should have told him earlier that she was appointed by Legal Aid.

Magistrate Malumani said there was scrutiny of lawyers as there were people who were masquerading, which was a criminal offence.

         

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