The Lusaka Magistrates’ Court has granted NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili a last adjournment in which to open his defence in a matter where he is charged with forgery and giving false information to a public officer in relation to the registration of Mwamona Engineering and Technical Services.
In this matter, Kambwili is facing three counts of forgery, uttering a false document and giving false information to a public officer.
He was put on his defence after he was found with a case to answer.
It is alleged in this matter that on October 29, 2013, with intent to defraud or deceive, Kambwili forged a ‘no change return’ (companies form 71) purporting to show that it was genuinely signed by his son Mwamba when in fact not.
It is further alleged that on the same date, Kambwili knowingly and fraudulently uttered the same document to an officer at Patents and Companies’ Registration Agency (PACRA).
In the last session, Lusaka High Court Registrar David Simusamba, who sat as Principal Resident Magistrate, imposed December 12, this year, for Kambwili to open his defence, with or without his lawyers.
Magistrate Simusamba said Kambwili’s lawyers had been acrimonious to the court many times and had lacked courtesy and decorum befitting the court.
He reminded Kambwili that this was his case and he was the one to answer to the charges, adding that as such, the court will not move at a pace to be determined by him but the one required in the dispensation of justice.
But when the matter came up for a defence, Thursday, Kambwili’s defence lawyers Keith Mweemba, Gilbert Phiri, and Christopher Mundia were not before court.
Another lawyer Mwinga Cheelo who placed himself on the record for the first time as Kambwili’s advocate, told the court that he was not ready to proceed with the matter as his colleagues Mweemba and others, who were handling the matter, were indisposed.
He sought the court’s indulgence for an adjournment in order for him to obtain instructions and have sight of the documents.
Cheelo said in as much as he would have loved to proceed so that the matter was put to rest, he did not have instructions.
“My colleagues are in possession of the files and important documents that would help the accused conduct his defence. The court made a pronouncement at the last sitting that today we needed to proceed but by reason of the foregoing, we are unable to proceed we seek your indulgence for an adjournment,” he said.
The defence lawyer said he would ensure that he proceeds with defence with or without his colleagues at the next sitting.
And magistrate Simusamba said he would not adjourn the matter due to the absence of Mweemba, Phiri, and Mundia.
He added that if he adjourned the matter based on the absence of the other lawyers, he would be fulfilling their desire to stay away from court.
Magistrate Simusamba added that if he was to adjourn the matter, he could adjourn it to the following day.
“If I have to give you an adjournment, I will give you up to tomorrow (Friday). I gave your client nine days to liaise with your colleagues. I don’t know for what reason they want to delay defence, this has been their conduct. I will not be moving at their pace but at the pace of justice,” he said.
At this point, Cheelo asked for more time, saying Kambwili would be appearing in another court on Friday.
But magistrate Simusamba said his hands were tied.
Cheelo then asked if the court and the other parties could convene in chambers, and when the court resumed after a few minutes, magistrate Simusamba adjourned the matter to December 23 and 24, this year, for a defence.
He warned that he would adjourn the matter to those days for the last time, to enable Cheelo obtain further instructions.