Four businessmen have appeared in the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court for allegedly stealing an I-Phone, two bags containing money and other items worth over K19,000 from a motor vehicle.

Aswell Mwape, 25, of Matero; Charles Mpeuka, 25, of Chalala area; Chowa Sichilima, 24, of Lilanda and Shawn Phiri, 32, of Matero, were arrested after they allegedly broke into a woman’s car at Oxygen Gym on Leopard Hill road and stole various items.

The four have been charged with one count of theft from motor vehicle, contrary to Section 276 (C) of the Penal Code Chapter 87 of the laws of Zambia.

It is alleged that on December 3, this year in Lusaka, Mwape, Mpeuka, Sichilima and Phiri jointly and whilst acting together, stole from a motor vehicle, namely Nissan X-Trail registration BAC 3950, two bags with cash amounting to US $900; K2,000; drivers’ license; passport, ATM card; perfume; a pair of shoes; gym gear; two towels; an I-Phone and a pair of slippers all together valued K19,210, property of Annie-Marie Sievu.

And when the matter came up before Magistrate Jennifer Bwalya for plea, the four, who were remanded in custody, said they understood the charge and then took turns denying the charge.

When the plea of not guilty was recorded by the Court, Mwape, Mpeuka, Sichilima and Phiri who were unrepresented, applied for bail pending trial.

The State did not object to application for bail, but urged the Court to put sufficient conditions so that the accused persons come to court as and when they were required to do so.

Magistrate Bwalya then granted all four K10,000 cash bail each, with two working sureties bound in the sum of K30,000, but in their own recognizance.

She added that the sureties should be employees of reputable organizations and with proof of residence.

The matter comes up on January 6, next year for trial.

Police spokesperson Esther Katongo confirmed the arrest of the four in a statement issued recently.

“Police in Lusaka have arrested four suspects for the offense of theft from motor vehicle, which occurred on December 3, 2019, between 16:00 hours and 16:20 hours at Oxygen Gym along Leopard Hill road. The suspects are alleged to have broken into a motor vehicle and stole US $1,000 out of which only US $100 was recovered and a brown bag,” stated Katongo.

“Further investigations led to more recoveries of various items stolen from motor vehicles parked at three different shopping malls, among them, Sumsung tablets, Wi-Fi gadgets and clothes. The recovered items have been identified by owners. The suspects are Charles Mpeuka, Aswell Mwape, Masiku Phiri and Chewe Sichilima. All are detained in police custody.”