A lawyer representing Chita Lodge managing director James Chungu, in a matter he is jointly charged with former ZAF Commander Lieutenant General Eric Chimese, has submitted that the State’s application to have his client’s bond cancelled on account of interfering with a witness, is misconceived and an abuse of authority.
The defence has therefore asked the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court to throw out the application.
In this matter, Chimese and Chungu are charged with five counts of abuse of authority and money laundering relating to properties in Ibex Hill and Lilayi.
Previously, a Zimbabwean builder, Masaka Joe Tendai, testified that Chungu sent him K700 in August this year, on Airtel money and advised him to leave the country saying the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) wanted to arrest him because he had details of the house he built in Ibex Hill.
Arising from Tendai’s testimony, the State asked the Court to cancel Chungu’s bond on account of interfering with its witness.
Chief State Advocate at NPA Gamaliel Zimba told the court that the State found it worrisome that Chungu asked the witness to leave the country, saying if not curtailed, there was a possibility of interference with State witnesses.
But when the matter came up before magistrate Nsunge Chanda, defence lawyer Kelvin Bwalya Fube argued that the evidence of the purported interference seemed to be visiting the court records as an afterthought.
Fube submitted that the alleged conversation in which he was offered K700 and told to flee the country to Zimbabwe had not been investigated nor complained of to the arresting officer.
“This court has been left to wonder as to its truth or motive,” he said.
Fube submitted that Tendai had not conducted himself in a manner to warrant the court to cancel his bond because there was simply no evidence for the court to follow.
“We therefore pray that this court dismisses the application and let trial go on and A2 (Chungu) continues to enjoy bond,” he submitted.
Earlier, a defence lawyer Luyando Hangwemu said correct procedure oaught to have been followed when making the application if the court was to entertain it.
She said the court must give Chungu a fair opportunity to answer to allegations brought to court that Chungu interfered with a witness.
Hangwemu vehemently opposed the State’s application.
Another defence lawyer, Chongo Mulenga, submitted that the manner in which the prosecutor made the application should not be entertained, adding that the procedure adopted to make the application to have the bond cancelled was not followed.
Mulenga said the court needed to hear evidence from both sides to determine if indeed there had been contempt.
“It is our prayer your honour that the application by the state which has not regarded the right procedure should not be entertained by this court,” said Mulenga.
The State then applied for an adjournment to enable it to reply to the submissions.
The matter comes up on November 25.