LUSAKA Principal Resident Magistrate David Simusamba yesterday closed a case in which NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili is charged with forgery, uttering a false document and giving false information to a public officer and set October 12, this year, as date of judgement.
This was after Kambwili’s lawyers failed to show up as they were before higher courts.
However, Kambwili has complained that it’s unfair for the magistrate to refuse to adjourn the matter, adding that he does not understand why a magistrate can close a case when he still had two more witnesses to testify in his defence
When the matter came up for continued defence yesterday, State prosecutor Mukumi Chipawa informed the court that the accused was present and that the State was ready to proceed.
However, Kambwili’s lawyers in the matter; Musa Mwenye State Counsel, Keith Mweemba, Christopher Mundia and Gilbert Phiri were not present.
At this point, another lawyer from Christopher Mundia’s law firm, Jacqueline Lungu applied for an adjournment, saying Mwenye, who was in conduct of the matter, was appearing before the Court of Appeal.
In response, Chipawa reminded the court that it had at the last sitting given Kambwili the last adjournment, but added that he would leave it to the court.
Ruling on the application for an adjournment, magistrate Simusamba said he had on several occasions extended the time that he had given the defence to conclude their defence and to close the case.
He added that he had told the defence at the last sitting that he would not allow any more adjournments.
Magistrate Simusamba therefore refused to grant the application for an adjournment and proceeded to close the case.
He added that he would render his judgement in 14 days.
“I now make the decision that this case is closed. Judgment will be made in 14 days,” magistrate Simusamba ordered.
At this point, Lungu requested for four weeks in which the defence could file their submissions but magistrate Simusamba refused and gave them a week.
He also gave the State a week to file their submissions after the defence had filed theirs.
Magistrate Simusamba then set October 12 as date of judgement.
But speaking to journalists, Kambwili said it was unfair for magistrate Simusamba to refuse an adjournment, adding that he does not understand why the magistrate could close the case before the defence officially closed it.
He said he still had two witnesses to testify in his defence.
Kambwili said after the case was adjourned to an agreed date last week, there was communication on Friday from the Court of Appeal for Mwenye to appear there on the same day as his matter.
He added that Mweemba was in Chipata for another matter, while Mundia was appearing before the High Court in a matter where the UPND has sued the Electoral Commission of Zambia.
“So you can see that all my three lawyers were committed in higher courts and obviously where the hearing clashes between a higher court and a lower court, the higher court takes precedence. But I really don’t know why he has closed the case before we officially close it. We had two more witnesses to give evidence,” said Kambwili.
He said the people of Zambia had seen for themselves how magistrate Simusamba had treated him in the matter.
Kambwili wished magistrate Simusamba all the best in his career.