The Lusaka Magistrates’ Court has dismissed an application by the defence lawyers to have the three men who originally trafficked in 24 kilogrammes of cocaine acquitted, saying their prayer was an afterthought because it had arisen after the drugs had gone missing.
And the court has ruled that the defence’s other application to re-examine the cocaine is not attainable because the drugs have gone missing.
Meanwhile, the court has ordered the Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja to investigate the article circulating on social media titled ‘The 24kg cocaine syndicate and court officials’, saying the said article is contemptuous.
This is in a matter in which Sydney Mwansa, Teddy Matanda and Shaibu Likuta are alleged to have trafficked in 24.9 kilogrammes of cocaine, which had gone missing whilst in the custody of the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court.
Defence counsels Keith Mweemba and Shadreck Mbewe applied to the court to have the purported cocaine subjected to a chemical re-examination and alternatively acquit the accused due to the missing drugs.
But in his ruling, Thursday, Chief Resident Magistrate Kenneth Mulife dismissed all the prayers by the defence.
Magistrate Mulife said an order to have the drugs re-tested was not attainable because the drugs had been stolen and was a subject of criminal proceedings before Magistrate Kawama Mwamfuli.
He further ruled that the non-attendance of a public analyst as a witness to testify whether what was seized was cocaine was neither prejudicial nor did it entitle the accused to an acquittal.
Magistrate Mulife said the accused had an opportunity to challenge the veracity of the contents of the exhibits and secure the attendance of the public analyst.
He further ruled that it was not mandatory for a public analyst to attend court as a witness, but at times one could be called by the court or the accused to testify.
And on an order to institute a Commission of Inquiry, the court said only the President had such powers to order for a Commission of Inquiry.
At this point, Mweemba challenged the court to review its judgement, but later ended his application after the court’s guidance.
He, however, made another application asking the court to investigate an article circulating on social media titled ’24kg cocaine syndicate and court officials’, which alleges that the court, the State and defence were playing an active role in the disappearing of the drugs and reaping the benefits.
And delivering a ruling, Magistrate Mulife ordered Kanganja to investigate the article, saying it was contemptuous.
He said a complaint should be sworn at court so that an investigation was launched