Heavily armed police officers Friday morning sealed off the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court anticipating Chishimba Kambwili’s appearance.

But when the matter came up before principal resident magistrate David Simusamba, the Roan PF member of parliament’s lawyers Keith Mweemba, Gilbert Phiri and Christopher Mundia told the court that their client was given bed rest by doctors.

Tight security checks characterised the court complex and most of the NDC supporters, including their secretary general Mwenya Musenge, were denied entry.

When the matter was called, defence counsel Mundia said Kambwili fell ill last evening and was unable to attend court.

“The accused was supposed to be at court this morning but fell ill last evening. He is hypertensive, he has since been granted bed rest by the doctors. Both sureties are before court there is a medical report indicating the same. However, your honour, in order to make progress, we seek the court’s indulgence that the accused appears on Monday 29 for plea and setting of trial dates,” said Mundia

The court has since adjourned the matter accordingly.

Kambwili, who was also scheduled to appear before police for further interrogations this afternoon, failed to show up for the same medical reasons.

Kambwili is facing one count of forgery and uttering false documents.

It is alleged that on October 29, 2013, with intent to defraud or deceive, Kambwili did forge a document namely no change return (companies form 71) purporting to show it was genuinely signed by Mwamba Chishimba when in fact not.

In count two, it is alleged that on October 29, 2013, Kambwili knowingly and fraudulently did utter a false document namely no change return (companies form 71) to an officer at Patents and Companies Registration Agency.

Meanwhile, Musenge said it was unacceptable to deny supporters entry into court premises.

Musenge said if anything happened to Kambwili, government would be held liable.

“Whatever will happen to Kambwili government will be held responsible. This is a democratic country where rights are supposed to be enjoyed,” said Musenge.

“This is a trivial case. He has appeared before in court so he is not scared. It’s just that he is sick.”

National Democratic Congress (NDC) secretary general Mwenya Musenge speaks to journalists in Lusaka on Janaury 26, 2018 – Picture by Tenson Mkhala
Armed police officers at Lusaka’s Magistrates Court on January 26, 2018 – Picture by Tenson Mkhala