The main complainant and key state witness in the case in which Chipili Independent member of parliament Jewis Chabi is charged with malicious damage to property has told the Mansa Magistrates’ Court that he doesn’t want anything to do with the matter, adding that the case should have been closed after he reconciled with the accused.
Appearing before Magistrate Mulenga, Tuesday, Kennedy Kombe, an employee of the National Road fund agency who is former PF branch chairperson for Mansa said he did not understand why the case “which should have been closed was still being pursued” even after he had forgiven the alleged offender.
It is alleged in this matter that, on December 17, 2017 around 16:00 hours, Chabi damaged property namely; a PF chitenge material and a plunk valued at K250 at Mansa Town Centre without any legal authority.
The matter died soon after Chabi’s arrest that year, but when it was resurrected last December, the lawmaker pleaded not guilty, thereby setting the State in motion to commence prosecution this week.
The matter however took an awkward turn after Kombe was called as a witness, but told the court that he did not want anything to do with the case as he had forgiven Chabi.
“I do not know why the case which was supposed to be closed is being pursued,” Kombe said, putting the prosecutor, a Mr Kapepa in a precarious position.
Kapepa tried to press on with examining the witness, but State Counsel Musa Mwenye who is representing Chabi, objected to the line of questions which he said amounted to the prosecutor cross examining his own witness.
Magistrate Mulenga upheld the defence’s objection on the ground that the prosecutor could not cross examine his own witness.
The matter was then stood down for an hour, and after it was resumed Kapepa asked for an adjournment in order for him to consult the Director of Public Prosecutions on how to proceed, but Mwenye objected to the application.
“Under 201 of the CPC, if a complainant withdraws the complaint, the DPP has no role to play and it remains upto this Honourable court to either accept or reject the withdrawal,” argued Mwenye.
In his ruling Magistrate Mulenga agreed that the complainant had withdrawn the complaint and that the DPP had no role to play.
The court, however, ruled that in the interest of justice, the matter would be adjourned to March 28, 2019 for the State to decide how to proceed.
Mansa town was flooded with anti riot police as Chabi went to appear in court, but some of his supporters whom he addressed after the court appearance, waited outside the precincts of the judiciary building.
“I think you heard for yourselves what happened in court. I just want to thank you for showing me this support and resilience. Your support gives me a lot confidence, because these people think Chabi is alone, but we many. And the Bembas say the size of a sweet potato lies in the ground, not it’s leaves,” said Chabi in Bemba as his supporters ululated in approval.
“Look at the number of police officers whom they brought here, these police officers were supposed to be doing other important jobs, but they have brought them here. Anyway, please return to your homes in peace. We will see you on March 28, when we will hear what else they will bring up because the complainant has already said I don’t want to be involved.