THE Lusaka Magistrates’ Court has amended the charge in which PF cadre Innocent Kalimanshi and six others were charged with possession of psychotropic substances to trafficking, among other charges.
The court has also granted Lameck Mundisha and 20 others, who are charged with possession of offensive weapons, K10,000 bail each in their own recognisance and two sureties in the sum of K20,000 in their own recognisance.
In this matter, the 28 are facing drug-related offences, being in possession of offensive weapons, among other charges.
In count one, two and three, the accused are charged with possession of psychotropic substances.
In the first count, it is alleged that Titus Phiri, Nkandu Mundubi, Andrew Monde, Melvin Sichinga and Emmanuel Mwape on July 23, 2021, in Lusaka, did traffic in psychotropic substances namely 95.3 grams of cannabis, the product of cannabis sativa without lawful authority.
In the second count, it is alleged that Andrew Monde on July 23, 2021, in Lusaka did traffic a psychotropic substance namely 36 grams of cannabis, the product of cannabis sativa without lawful authority.
In the third count, it is alleged that Innocent Kalimanshi on July 23, 2021, in Lusaka did trafficking, psychotropic substances, namely 2.0 grams of cannabis, the product of cannabis sativa without lawful authority.
In the fourth count, it is alleged that Kalimanshi, on the same date unlawfully used a motor vehicle, namely, an unregistered Nissan Fairlady for purposes of committing an offense under the Narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances act.
In count five, it is alleged that Lameck Mundisha, Amon Simwanza, Keron Mwewa, Amon Banda, Lackson Phiri, Chola Chishimba, Moses Mwaba, Steven Ndawa, Mathew Phiri, Saidi Mumba, Mtendere Mwanza, Musonda Bwalya, Alick Daka, Peter Nkhoma, Oscar Chinga, Musa Chanda, Given Kokwa, Simon Mkandawire, Aaron Mumba, Emmanuel Mwape and Patrick Mulenga had in their possession, 19 axe handles and five machetes without lawful authority.
When the matter came up for ruling on whether the charges in counts one to three were properly framed, Monday, Magistrate Stanford Ngobola said that Statutory Instrument number 119 of 1995 was still in force and was applicable to the matter as opposed to arguments made by the state that the new amendment, Article 35, was inconsistent with it.
He further found that the statutory instrument of 1995 was not inconsistent with section 2 of Act No.35 of 2021.
And passing ruling on whether counts one to three where defective, Magistrate Ngobola found that the quantities found in the said counts are in excess of 0.50 grams which constitutes the offence of possession meaning that the counts disclose an offence of trafficking and not possession of psychotropic substances as stated in the initial charge.
“I order the amendment of charges from possession of psychotropic substances to trafficking in psychotropic substances,” said Magisrate Ngobola.
The state then made an application to substitute the indictment to which the defence did not object
The court granted the application and the accused took plea in the amended charge sheet.
The 28 accused all entered a plea of not guilty in their respective charges.
The defence then made a bail application for the 21 accused of possession of offensive weapons.
“We would like to make an application to admit the accused under count five to bail pursuant to section 123 of the Criminal Procedure Code as the applicant will be able to meet the bail conditions beset by this honorable court. They are all Zambians and traceable through sureties though we are mindful that accused persons under count four, through granted will not come out until matter is disposed,” said the defence counsel.
The state did not object to the application but urged the court to put in place stringent measures to ensure the accused appear in court.
In response, Magistrate Ngobola granted the bail application in the sum of K10,000 to the accused in their own recognizance with two sureties in the sum of K20,000 in their own recognizance.
The matter has since been adjourned to September 6 for mention and September 10 for commencement of trial.