THE Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has entered a nolle prosequi in a matter where a Lusaka businessman was accused of conspiring with another person to procure military equipment for purposes of assassinating President Edgar Lungu and other senior government officials.

Mwangala Ngalande, 58, of Lusaka’s Roma Township was charged with one count of treason.

Chief Resident Magistrate Lameck Mwale yesterday discharged Ngalande, who had been in custody since November, last year when he was arrested, after the DPP entered a nolle prosequi.

It was alleged in this matter that between August 1, 2019, and December 1, 2019, in Lusaka, Ngalande jointly and whilst acting together with other persons unknown, prepared or endeavoured to overthrow by unlawful means, the government of Zambia as by law established.

According to Overt Act number 1, it was alleged that Ngalande conspired with Simon Njobvu to procure military equipment, namely: AK47 assault ruffles, pistols and Rocket-Propelled Grenades (RPGs) for the purposes of assassinating President Lungu and other senior government officials, namely: service chiefs, Minister of Defence, the Chief Justice, Speaker of the National Assembly and his deputy.

In Overt Act number 2, Ngalande on the same dates allegedly conspired with Njobvu to source for international funding and actually obtained US $1.6 million, finances to be utilized in overthrowing government as by law established.

When the matter came up before Magistrate Mwale, Tuesday, State Prosecutor Juvenalis Kamutondole informed the Court that the matter was coming up for continued hearing of a preliminary inquiry.

He, however, added that the prosecution was in receipt of instructions from the DPP to discontinue the matter through a nolle prosequi.

Magistrate Mwale discharged Ngalande in view of the nolle prosequi.

“In view of th nolle prosequi entered by Director of Pulic Prosecutions, the proceedings against the accused person are hereby discontinued and he is accordingly discharged,” Magistrate Mwale ruled.

Last month, Ngalande’s defence lawyer, Martha Mushipe, had applied for a preliminary inquiry pursuant to section 223 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC).

Mushipe said the Court was mandated to hold preliminary inquiries in such cases and had the power to establish whether there was enough evidence warranting the matter be committed to the High Court.

And when he walked to freedom yesterday, Ngalande told journalists that he had been battered too much.

“First and foremost, this was a case of persecution. Since there was nothing on the ground, nothing at all, there was nothing else they could do. I feel well, but I feel I have been battered too much. We will see as the days go by,” said Ngalande.

On Monday, the State called its second witness Phillip Muponda, a business executive, to testify in the matter.

But before he could begin his testimony, he asked to speak with the Court in chambers regarding the issue.

Magistrate Mwale granted the application and when both parties returned from the chambers, the State applied to have the matter adjourned to yesterday, which Magistrate Mwale granted.

The first witness, Chitongo Lubita, a plumber at Levy Mwanawasa Hospital, had testified how Ngalande allegedly revealed to him his plans to overthrow President Lungu’s government.

He told the Court that one of Ngalande’s plans was to gun down the Presidential plane as a means to overthrow the government.

Lubita said Ngalande shared strategies with him on how to remove President Lungu out of office on September 13, 2019.

He said Ngalande even demonstrated to him how to gun down the plane as a chopper flew by their head while they enjoyed nshima over a glass of whisky on that material day.

Lubita further said Ngalande suggested to him that the best critical days to strike were either Independence Day or the National Day of Prayers held every October 18.