LUSAKA Chief Resident Magistrate Lameck Mwale has cautioned Health Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya against going with his sympathizers to court after the minister pleaded not guilty to charges of possession of properties suspected to be proceeds of crime.
And three suspected PF cadres were today roughed up by Zambia Police officers, led by their Deputy Inspector General Bonny Kapeso, after they attempted to force themselves into the premises.
Meanwhile, Kapeso says all the cadres who were beaten got what they deserved because they were forewarned.
The Police officers arrived early and sealed off the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court and all roads leading to the complex.
The officers, who were armed in riot gear, were restricting entry to the premises and searched vehicles to stop PF cadres from accessing the premises in light of the confusion which characterised Dr Chilufya’s previous court appearance.
Before Dr Chilufya arrived at court, a PF cadre drove straight into the court premises ignoring the police who asked him to stop so that he could be scanned.
After entering the premises, some officers ran towards his vehicle and forcefully removed him from the driver’s seat.
He was made to seat down for a few seconds before being led to a police vehicle.
The cadre was then bundled into a police vehicle and was ordered to lie down whilst being kicked and hit.
He was then taken to Kabwata Police Station.
Few minutes later, two other suspected cadres who attempted to enter the premises were equally beaten and taken to Kabwata police station.
Whilst being led to the vehicle, one was heard saying he was at court for his own case.
And once in court, magistrate Mwale read out the four charges to Dr Chilufya to which he said he understood.
Dr Chilufya then pleaded not guilty on all counts.
After entering pleas of not guilty and adjourning the matter to August 4, 2020 for commencement of trial, magistrate Mwale cautioned Dr Chilufya against going with his sympathizers to court in view of the COVID-19 guidelines which allows only a few people at court.
“Before we adjourn this matter, let me caution the accused as regards to your sympathisers. As the judiciary, we have guidelines which we follow in view of the COVID-19. We don’t want a lot of people coming here. Ask your sympathisers to stay home, your lawyers are here to handle the case,” said magistrate Mwale.
Meanwhile, speaking to journalists after the case was adjourned, Kapeso thanked the cadres who adhered to the message from Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja to stay away from court.
He, however, said those who were beaten got what they deserved.
“Through the office of the Inspector General of Police and on behalf of the Inspector General of Police Mr Kakoma Kanganja, we would like to thank all the cadres for adhering to the message from the IG to stay away from court sessions. We are grateful that you the press are also here, and we do not see any confusion as for today. We promise that this spirit we have started will continue until the matter is disposed accordingly,” Kapeso said.
“Well, we warned them in advance that if you misbehave, you will not blame us. I think what they have gotten is what they deserved. We are not here to play. We want to respect the institutions of governance and people must also respect the police. We deserve respect at all times. And the issue of cadres taking the law into their own hands, they will reap what they deserve.”
Asked if people would see more of security at court premises, Kapeso said, “that will be determined according to circumstances. If the circumstances do demand that people are unruly, officers also have to behave in the manner that suits the circumstances.”
In this matter, Dr Chilufya has been charged with four charges of possession of property suspected to be proceeds of crime contrary to section 71(1) of the forfeiture of proceeds of Crime Act no. 19 of the 2010 of the Laws of Zambia.
In the first count, it is alleged that Dr Chilufya on a date unknown but between December 1, 2016 and December 31, 2017 in Lusaka possessed US$200,000 which was used to purchase 6,000 shares in Samfya Marines and Tourism Services Limited from Den Daas Investment Zambia Limited, property suspected to be proceeds of crime.
In the second count, it is alleged that Dr Chilufya on a date unknown but between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017 in Lusaka possessed K270,000 cash which was used to purchase 2,000 shares in Samfya Marines and and Tourism Services Limited from Leo Jonas Ngosa Investment Limited, property suspected of being proceeds of crime.
In the third count, it is alleged that Dr Chilufya on an unknown date but between January 1, 2018 and December 30, 2019 possessed K3,000,000 which was used to purchase Lot No. 365/366 also known as Spark Guest House situated in Mansa district of Luapula Property, property reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime.
In the last count, it is alleged that Dr Chilufya on a date unknown but between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017 in Lusaka possessed US$52,000 which was used to purchase a passenger boat also known as Transport 32 from Smart Own FZE of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, property reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime.