LUSAKA Magistrate Alice Walusiku has set free Zambia Air Force (ZAF) colonel Dexter Maseka who was accused of lying before court that he knew nothing about properties allegedly belonging to former ZAF commander Eric Chimese in Ibex Hill.

Magistrate Walusiku acquitted Maseka after she failed to connect him to the offence of Perjury.

In this matter, Maseka, a 43-year-old procurement officer of Chamba valley was charged with one count of Perjury.

Particulars of the offence alleged that on July 9, 2019 in Lusaka, Maseka gave false information to Magistrate Nsunge Chanda that he knew nothing relating to the alleged Eric Mwaba Chimese properties situated in Ibex along twin palm road, when in fact not.

In April this year, Magistrate Walusiku found Maseka with a case to answer in the matter.

Maseka however, opted to remain silent in his defence.

But when the matter came up for judgement Tuesday, magistrate Walusiku found that the case of Perjury had not been proved beyond reasonable doubt against the accused.

Magistrate Walusiku found that Maseka did not give false testimony in the said proceedings before magistrate Chanda, adding that there was no evidence that the accused committed perjury.

She said what Maseka had told the court was what he believed to be the truth, adding that there was nowhere else where he gave a statement on oath which contradicted what he said in Court.

“DEC officers never got any statements from accused either ordinary or on oath and are not part of the category that can receive evidence on oath. For perjury to be committed it has to be on oath,” magistrate Walusiku said.

She said Maseka therefore could not be faltered over something that he did not do.

“Further, the particulars of the offence allege that the accused person gave false information to honourable Chanda Nsunge that he knew nothing relating to the alleged Chimese properties situated in Ibex Hill, Twin Palm road when in fact not. This statement shows that the accused knew something about the said properties, however it is not known as to what knowledge is being stated here. Is it knowing that some property is there? Or knowledge that it belonged to Chimese?” Magistrate Walusiku asked.

She said there were other avenues that could have been taken by the prosecution team once it appeared to them that Maseka had committed Perjury in the case before magistrate Chanda.

Magistrate Walusiku added that this was not done and therefore, she gave Maseka a benefit of doubt.

“Firstly, in line with section 52 of the Subordinate Court Act Chapter 28 of the Laws of Zambia, an application was to be made in that court in that case for it to deal with him summarily by calling upon the accused person to show cause as to why he could not be punished for contempt of court. If he failed he was to be sentenced accordingly,” magistrate Walusiku said.

“Secondly, after an application by the State, the court in that matter was going to hold a preliminary inquiry and if he was going to be found guilty, it was the court in that case to commit the accused person for trial on a charge of perjury. Thirdly, the prosecution were to declare the accused person as a hostile witness. In that case, the State would have cross examined the witness, the now accused person, so that credibility was tested and Justice be done.”

Magistrate Walusiku said even evidence by the first prosecution witness showed that the said witness was being supervised by Maseka.

She said the witness did not say if Maseka also worked there but simply said the property was for Chimese and never showed any proof to that.

Magistrate Walusiku said the evidence of ownership was material to that case.

She however, said in this case, no ownership of that property had been shown to show that Maseka knew the owner and lied under oath.

“According to the third prosecution witness, in cross examination she told the court that the original owner for the said property was Chita Lodge, but it was subdivided. Further, the names for general Chimese did not appear on the title deed and that if she was presented with that title deed, she would have said that the property was for Chita Lodge. If the witness could say that the property belong to Chita Lodge and not Chimese, who then is the accused person for him to say that the property was for Chimese when he was not even shown any title deed in the names of Chimese?” Magistrate Walusiku wondered.

She therefore acquitted Maseka after finding that the case of Perjury was not proved beyond reasonable doubt.

“This is a criminal matter where proof must be beyond reasonable doubt. I have failed to connect the accused person to the offence of perjury. I find the case of perjury not proved beyond reasonable doubt. I find the accused person not guilty and I acquit him accordingly,” ruled magistrate Walusiku.

She gave the state 14 days within which to appeal to the High Court if they were not happy with the ruling.