Seven court officials and three businessmen have pleaded not guilty to trafficking in 80.11 grams of cocaine which was an exhibit in a case before chief resident magistrate Kenneth Mulife.
The cocaine was an exhibit in a matter in which Sydney Mwansa, Shaibu Likuta and Teddy Matanda are jointly charged with trafficking.
However, out of the 24.19 kilograms of cocaine that is alleged to have gone missing , the suspects are only alleged to have trafficked in 80.11 grams, details on where the rest of the cocaine went remain unknown.
The businessmen are Eric Chipango, Emmanuel Chimba and Charles Nkhuwa, while the court officials are; Emmanuel Chirwa, Bearvan Mengo, Mathews Mukanda, Victor Nzaila, Florence Mushoka, O’Brian Muyunda and Didie Kangwa, a senior clerk of court.
The 10 accused persons are facing one count of trafficking in narcotic drugs while Chimba, a businessman, has been slapped with another charge of trafficking in narcotic drugs and being in possession of property suspected to be proceeds of crime.
It is alleged in the first count that the accused persons, between November 1, 2017 and September 14, this year, jointly and whilst acting together with other persons unknown did traffic in phychotropic substances namely, 80.11 grams of cocaine without lawful authority.
In the second count, it is alleged that Chimba on the same dates, trafficked in psychotropic substances namely 1.5 grams of cocaine without lawful authority.
Chimba is in the third count alleged to have received, possessed or concealed an unregistered black Mercedes Benz valued at K49,000, property reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime.
The 10 were arrested by a combined team of Law Enforcement Agencies, after which their homes and bank accounts were searched.
And when the matter came up before a Kafue based magistrate Mwamfuli who sat in Lusaka, the 10 denied the charges.
The defence lawyers comprising of Keith Mweemba, Zevyanji Sinkala, state counsel Irene Kunda as well as other lawyers from legal aid board asked the court to order for a medical examination of the accused persons as they were tortured during their stay in police custody.
Mweemba also submitted that the state should not allow officers from the Drug Enforcement Commission to be used as state witnesses once trial commenced because they were interested parties in the matter.
The State failed to respond to the submissions made by the defence and therefore asked for an adjournment which was granted by the court to allow them prepare a response.