Four people, among them two police officers, who were arrested and charged with manslaughter in connection with the death of Zambia Air Force (ZAF) flight sergeant Mark Choongwa, have pleaded not guilty in the Lusaka High Court.

And Lusaka Prison Female Correctional Facility officer in-charge Patricia Nanyangwe has lamented over extreme congestion in correctional facilities saying she hopes things will get better once the prisons being constructed in Mwembeshi are completed.

Taking plea before justice Mwila Kombe, Monday, Veronica Shawa, 44, a police officer of SOS Humanitarian area, Mike Kapale, 39, of State Lodge, Lyton Mwale, 37, of Mtendere and James Ngulube, 27, of Bauleni township denied killing Choongwa on March 18, 2017.

Sergent Choongwa was murdered in police custody at Woodlands Police Station where he was detained.

Justice Kombe adjourned the matter to June 6 for commencement of trial and extended their bail.

And giving an update on the population of the correctional facilities during the opening of criminal sessions, Nanyangwe observed that congestion in the facilities was a well known issue.

She hoped that things would get better once the facilities being constructed in Mwembeshi were completed.

“For Lusaka Central Correctional facility, the population is 1,341, Kamwala Remand Correctional Facility is 528, Mwembeshi Farm Correctional Centre 331, Mwembeshi Maximum Correctional Facility is 591, Chainama East Correctional Hospital is 113, Lusaka Central Female Correctional Facility is 131. Congestion is a well known issue. We hope things will get better when the facilities which are being built in Mwembeshi are completed,” said Nanyangwe.