A 44-year-old businessman has narrated in the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court how his business partner introduced him to a drug business involving court officials.
He testified that after different transactions, he came to discover that the cocaine which he was asked to sell came from court.
The State witness, Charles Nkuwa, however admitted during cross examination that he was once convicted and sentenced to three years for trafficking in drugs.
Charles Nkhuwa, a businessman at Katondo Street, was initially charged with businessmen; Eric Chipango, Emmanuel Chimba and court officials; Emmanuel Chirwa, Bearvan Mengo, Mathews Mukanda, Victor Nzaila, Florence Mushoka, O’Brian Muyunda and Didie Kangwa, a senior clerk of court, for trafficking in cocaine without lawful authority, but was set free and turned into a state witness.
In this matter, the nine accused persons are facing four counts of trafficking in narcotic drugs and two counts of theft by servant.
The Director of Public Prosecutions had entered a nolle prosequi in a case where the nine were facing three counts of drug trafficking in relation to the disappearance of 24 kilogram of cocaine, which drugs are subject of criminal proceedings before another court.
However, upon their release, the accused persons were re-arrested and slapped with fresh charges to which they had pleaded not guilty.
When the matter came up before a Siavonga based magistrate Victoria Chitulangoma sitting in Lusaka for trial, Monday, Nkuwa, who was the first state witness, said he was in a business of selling phones, laptops and vehicles at Katondo streets.
He narrated that in August last year, Chipango, the first accused, received a call and asked Nkuwa to go with him to meet some people at Downtown.
Nkuwa explained that he was found with Chipango at Katondo streets.
He said when they reached Downtown, they found a black Benz parked at Petroda Filling station which they were asked to follow.
“Eric received a call to follow the Benz. Thereafter we parked the vehicle and went to the Benz,” he said.
Nkuwa said there were five people in the Benz.
He said, when they got to where the Benz was, accused number two, Emmanuel Chimba told Chipango that ‘uncle Eric, the business that we spoke about, we’ve brought’.”
Nkuwa narrated that Chimba asked them to feel free saying the people in the Benz were found at court.
He said the person who was sitting on the passenger seat in front, Victor Nzaila, then got a plastic from underneath his seat which contained 1 Kg of cocaine, commonly referred to as ‘yellow’ on the streets.
“He opened the plastic and said the business we have brought is here. He said in the plastic there is cocaine. We want fast money. I told Eric, ‘where will we get the money from, we don’t know this business’,” he said.
Nkuwa narrated that he then asked the people in the Benz to give him the drugs saying they could look for business for them.
“Later on in the evening, Eric called me telling me that Emma (Chimba) wanted my line. Emma then called me and told me that ‘uncle I got the cocaine it seems these people (court officials) had pressure. I have given them money we can take our time to look for clients’. He said he had given them K80,000,” he narrated.
Nkuwa narrated that Chimba started giving him cocaine to sell on his behalf.
He said, on three occasions, Chimba gave him 100 grammes of cocaine which he would sell at K5,000 and get K1,500 as commission.
Nkuwa said he used to share the K1,500 with Chipango because he introduced him to Chimba.
He narrated that after different transactions, Chimba started trusting him and disclosed that he got the drugs from court, his friends were the ones who brought for him.
Nkuwa said on September 9, this year, around 04:00 hours, DEC officers went to his house, but after searching the house, they didn’t find anything.
“They got me and took me to the police. From there I was charged with trafficking. Then my case was dropped,” he narrated.
In cross examination, Nkuwa said he was a pastor at a church called Jordan but it was no longer in existence.
Defence lawyer Keith Mweemba then reminded him that he was a drug convict and was convicted for tracking.
“The conviction was as a result of you purporting to supply silver metal which was fake. You remain a convict.You are a pastor involved in criminality,” said Mweemba.
Nkuwa admitted that he was once convicted to three years for trafficking in drugs.