NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili’s defence lawyers in a case he is charged with forgery and giving false information to a public officer have excused themselves from representing the accused in the matter.
Defence lawyers Keith Mweemba, Gilbert Phiri, and Christopher Mundia told the court that they are unable to proceed with the matter having anxiously considered developments in the case.
Meanwhile, the court has adjourned the matter to March 5, this year, for commencement of defence, after Kambwili asked the court to give him time to find money to hire other lawyers.
In this matter, Kambwili is charged with three counts of forgery, uttering a false documents and giving false information to a public officer.
This is in relation to the registration of Mwamona Engineering and Technical Services.
It is alleged that on October 29, 2013, Kambwili with intent to defraud or deceive, 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).
On November 28, last year, Lusaka High Court Registrar David Simusamba, who sat as Principal Resident Magistrate found Kambwili with a case to answer in the matter after noting that the prosecution had established a prima facie case on all three counts charged against him.
He consequently placed him on his defence.
When the matter came up yesterday before magistrate Simusamba, the State informed the court that the matter was scheduled for commencement of defence.
But defence lawyer, Phiri, who also spoke on Mweemba and Mundia’s behalf, informed the court that they were unable to commence defence.
He added that he and the other two lawyers, were unable to continue with conduct of the matter having anxiously considered developments in the case.
“Speaking in a representative capacity on behalf of my learned colleagues Mr Keith Mweemba and Mr Christopher Mundia, we wish to seek the indulgence of the court to state that we are unable to commence defence today for the simple reason that having anxiously considered developments in this matter, it has become prudent that as defence Counsel, we are unable to proceed with conduct of this matter,” said Phiri.
“We have made our position very clear to the accused person and we are here to request that the court does excuse us from continued conduct of this matter. For reasons we cannot begin to indulge into. We beg that the court excuses us.”
And Kambwili asked the court to give him a month to find money so that he could hire other lawyers.
“I need to look for money, I don’t work your honour. A month will be better for me to find money to pay the [new] lawyers. I don’t want to come to this court and say ‘I don’t have a lawyer…’,” said Kambwili.
Magistrate Simusamba then adjourned the matter to March 5, this year, for commencement of defence.