A Police officer has narrated to the Lusaka Magistrate’s Court how he apprehended a man who allegedly attempted to break into a warehouse at Zambia Medical Stores Limited (ZMSL) in 2017 where drugs and other goods worth over K3 million were reportedly stolen.
However, Grafton Chalwe, 45, an officer at Lusaka Division told the court that nothing was stolen from the warehouse on that material day.
This is the matter in which six people, among them three former ZMSL employees, are facing three counts of theft and criminal trespass.
The accused persons include; Tambwe Tambwe a businessman; Patrick Ellite, businessman; Oliver Chipalapata, businessman; Kaluluka Muyendekwa,warehouse receiving assistant; Paul Bwalya, warehouse assistant and Ananias Simumba, driver.
Two of the accused persons are Congolese while the rest are Zambians.
In the first count, Ntambwe, Ellite and Chipalapata are charged with criminal trespass contrary to sections 303(a) of the Penal Code Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia.
Particulars of the offence allege that on August 20, 2017 in Lusaka, the trio jointly and whilst acting together, unlawfully entered into the Zambia Medical Stores Limited premises, namely Lichwe warehouse with intent to commit a felony therein.
In the second count, Muyendekwa, Bwalya and Simumba are charged with theft by public servant contrary to section 272 and 277 of the Laws of Zambia.
It is alleged that on dates unknown but between January 1, 2016 and August 20,2017, the three being persons employed by Zambia Medical Stores Limited as warehouse assistants and driver or clerk respectively, stole K7,647 sachets of Artemether and Lumefantine tablets, 14,336 pieces of gloves, 1115, 596 boxes of Amoxycillin tablets and 235 boxes of insulin soluble tablets, all together valued at K3,001,223.30, the property of the Government of Zambia, which came into their possession by virtue of their employment.
And in count three, Ntambwe, Ellite and Chipalapata are charged with theft.
It is alleged that between January 1, 2016 and August 20,2017, the trio stole K7,647 sachets of Artemether and Lumefantine tablets, 14,336 pieces of gloves, 1115, 596 boxes of Amoxycillin tablets and 235 boxes of insulin soluble tablets, all together valued at K3,001,223, the property of Zambia Medical Stores Limited.
When the matter came up for continuation of trial before magistrate Rachael Mwansa, Wednesday, Chalwe testified that on August 20, 2017, he received an intelligence report that some criminals were breaking into ZMSL in Chinika industrial area.
He said acting on the same report, he mobilised other officers and proceeded to the scene.
“On August 20, 2017, I was on duty around 08:00 hours when we received an intelligence report to the effect that there were criminals who were breaking in at Medical Stores in Chinika industrial area. Acting on the same report, I together with other officers mobilised ourselves and proceeded to the reported scene. On arrival, we used the rear gate. [And] when we entered the premises, we found one man trying to open a door in the warehouse,” Chalwe said.
He said when the officers apprehended the suspect, they found him with instruments used for breaking into buildings, among them; a garden folk, an axial, a bunch of keys, bar soap, wheel spanner, saw blade and a bottle of suspected acid.
Chalwe said after confronting the suspect, he identified himself as Ellite from Kanyama Township.
“The police officers took Ellite to Lusaka Central Police Station for further investigations,” he said.
In cross examination, Tambwe asked the witness if the officer found the stolen items on him and whether there was anything reportedly missing at ZMSL
In response, Chalwe said nothing was stolen from ZMSL on that particular day.