LUSAKA Chief Resident Magistrate Lameck Mwale has set April 19, this year, as judgement date in a case in which former Minister of Community Development and Social Services Emerine Kabanshi is facing charges of willful failure to comply with the law and applicable procedure or guidelines relating to procurement involving the Social Cash Transfer program.
When the matter came up for continued defence, Thursday, defence lawyer Katindo Mwale informed magistrate Mwale that the defence had previously indicated that they would call one final witness in their defence.
He, however, added that they had been unable to secure that one witness.
“We are subsequently closing our defence. We shall file written submissions within seven days,” Mwale said.
Magistrate Mwale then directed the defence to file their written submissions on or before April 1, 2021 and further, that the State should respond on or before April 8, 2021.
He adjoirned the matter to April 19, this year for judgement.
In this matter, it is alleged in the first count that Kabanshi between August 21, 2017 and April 26, 2018 in Lusaka, as a minister concerned in the administration and management at the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services, willfully failed to comply with the law, applicable procedure and guidelines relating to procurement by extending the scope of coverage of contract number MCDSS/SP/10/2017 between ZAMPOST MCDSS to include three provinces and two districts under Social Cash Transfer programme.
In count two, it is alleged that Kabanshi during the same period willfully failed to comply the law, procedures and guidelines relating to procurement when re-engaging ZAMPOST as payment service provider under contract number MCDSS/10/2017 for Social Cash Transfer programme following the termination of the said contract.
The State closed its case in December, last year, after calling 11 witnesses to testify in the matter.
And in January this year, Magistrate Mwale found Kabanshi with a case to answer and put her on her defence.
In her defence, Kabanshi who gave unsworn evidence, told the court that she had nothing to do with the extension of the scope of coverage of a contract between ZAMPOST to include three provinces and two districts under Social Cash Transfer programme.
“What I have to say to this court is that if I was the one that was charged with the functions of implementing the extension of a contract, the Attorney General would have addressed the letter to me and giving me advise on how to go about it,” she said.
“I had nothing to do with those extensions. I wasn’t part. What I mean by that is that the contents on how to go implementing that contract is all the preserve of the technocrats. And they are the ones that made it and they signed.”
Regarding the second charge that between August 21, 2017 and April 26, 2018 Kabanshi willfully failed to comply the law, procedures and guidelines relating to procurement when re-engaging ZAMPOST as payment service provider for Social Cash Transfer programme following the termination of the contract, the accused said there was no re-engagement that was done during that time.
She sad to her knowledge, the re-engagement which was done in the Ministry was on August 8, 2018.
Kabanshi said there was a letter that the acting permanent secretary wrote to the post master general telling him about how the re-engagement was going to be done.
Meanwhile, magistrate Mwale has set April 16, this year as judgment date in a matter in which a Luanshya man is accused of insulting President Edgar Lungu during a phone-in programme on Millennium Radio.
This was after the accused person closed his defence.
In this matter, Fred Maanya is charged with defamation of the President but had pleaded not guilty.
Particulars of the offence allege that on March 28, 2019 in Lusaka, Maanya with intent to bring the name of the President into ridicule, published insulting matter by word of mouth.
When the matter came up for continued defence, the accused through his lawyer Mulambo Haimbe told the court that he was going to close his defence and would not call his witness.
The defence also said they would file their written submissions by April 7, 2021.
However, the State indicated that they would rely on the evidence on record.
Maanya had in his defence denied defaming the Head of State, saying he also felt hurt when he heard that someone had insulted President Lungu.