The State has submitted to the Lusaka High Court that murder convict Keith Mukata’s former co-accused Charmaine Musonda, is not entitled to the damages she’s claiming for false imprisonment because she was an accused, who was subject to the due process of the law.
Attorney General Likando Kalaluka has stated that Musonda’s detention was justified as there were incriminating facts which at the time connected her to murder of a security guard.
In this matter, Musonda has sued the State in the Lusaka High Court, demanding damages of K800,000 for false imprisonment.
Musonda cited the Attorney General as the defendant in the matter.
She was jointly charged with Mukata, who was Chilanga UPND member of parliament and lawyer by profession, for the murder of a security guard, Namakamba Kwenda, in 2017.
But in February last year, the Lusaka High Court convicted and sentenced Mukata to death by hanging for the charge of murder and acquitted Musonda.
She has now sued the State and is seeking damages for false imprisonment, malicious imprisonment, aggravated and exemplary damages.
But in his defence filed in the Lusaka High Court principal registry, November 21, Kalaluka stated that Musonda was not entitled to the said claims.
Kalaluka stated that Musonda and another were the only ones found at the crime scene in the murder of Kwenda and that they both remained mute when asked who had shot the deceased.
He stated that Musonda’s detention was justified as there was probable cause to do so because there were incriminating facts which at the time connected her to the murder.
“The defedant states that there was presence of probable cause to suspect that the plaintiff (Musonda) comitted the offence of murder as the only fire arm around was one found in the vehicle the plaintiff was driving though registered in the name of Keith Akekelwa Mukata and turned out to be a murder weapon,” Kalaluka stated.
“The defendant states that there was direct evidence linking the plaintiff to the murder case. The plaintiff shall be put to strict proof thereof.”
Kalaluka stated that Lusaka Central Correctional Facility was the place where accused persons were kept, especially for offences such as murder.
He further stated that the loss and damage if any allegedly sustained by Musonda, were as a result of her coming in conflict with the law.
Kalaluka denied that the charge was malicious and without reasonable and probable cause, adding that Musonda was not detained for the reason of merely being at Mukata’s Law Firm, but that the pistol found to have been used in the murder was in the motor vehicle she was driving.
“The investigations, arrest and prosecution of the plaintiff were proper and the defendants held a genuine belief as to the involvement of the plaintiff in the matter considering her conduct when questioned at the murder scene. The defendant avers that there was nothing unlawful or unreasonable in the manner the defendants treated the plaintiff,” stated Kalaluka.
Kalaluka denied each and every allegation of fact in Musonda’s statement of claim.