A DEC officer has told the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court that Emmanuel Chirwa, a court interpreter, gave out the names of other court officials who were involved in trafficking 24 Kilogrammes of cocaine exhibits that went missing, after he was arrested.
Choolwe Kaliba, 39, a Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) investigations officer further told the court that during their search at Chirwa’s house, they discovered a small pistol and a drug exhibit bag in his bedroom.
In this matter, 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, are charged with four counts of trafficking in cocaine and two counts of theft by servant.
And when the matter came up for continued trial before Magistrate Victoria Chitulangoma, Kaliba narrated that on September 5 this year, he received a call from an informer, saying there were some people who were about to conduct a drug transaction at Cheers supermarket, along Tokyo Road.
He testified that after he drove to the said location in the company of other officers, he found a Toyota Corolla that was being driven by businessman, Eric Chipango.
Kaliba said when Chipango’s vehicle was searched, a black plastic containing sachets of cocaine was discovered, but the accused refused that they were not his.
“The suspect was refusing that it’s not his and that he was asked to send on someone’s behalf. He was the only one in the vehicle,” he said.
Kaliba told the court that after Chipango was apprehended, he led the officers to his colleague, Emmanuel Chimba.
However, Chimba also revealed that he got the drugs from Chirwa, a court interpreter at the Magistrates’ Court.
“We called Emma to talk about which people from court had given him that sample. Emma informed us that Chirwa was the one who gave him,” he said.
Kaliba said that same day, a search was conducted at Chirwa’s house where they discovered a small pistol and a drug exhibit bag.
“They (officers) searched the bedroom. After searching, they came out with a small pistol and an exhibit bag where we put drugs for analysis. We asked Mr Chirwa what the bag was for. He said he carried documents in it when he was coming home. I asked him if it was lawful for him to do so, he admitted that it wasn’t in order, but had just carried documents in there,” he said.
Kaliba testified that after Chirwa and Chimba where arrested, Chirwa later on revealed the names of other court officials involved in cocaine trafficking.
“After we closed the search at Mr Chirwa’s house, we proceeded to go and search Mr Chimba’s house. There was nothing of interest that was found at his house. At that time, it was almost after 02 hours in the morning. We took Mr Chirwa at Central Police, and Mr Chimba, at Woodlands Police. The following day we got the two suspects. When I interviewed Mr Chirwa, that’s when the names of the other suspects, (court officials) where mentioned,” said Kaliba.