THERE was drama in the Lusaka High Court yesterday when the court heard that a lawyer whom nine murder-accused UPND cadres said would represent them sent information that he had not, in fact, been retained.
In this matter, Samson Mumba, Kelvin Banda, Andrew Banda, John Mwanza , Njekwa Puteho, Reuben Nalikana, Mwendalubi Namushi, Elijah Kawewe, and John Bwalya are charged with two counts of murder.
It is alleged that the nine, on July 30, 2021, jointly and whilst acting together did murder Danny Kasongo and Davies Kabunda, both PF members.
When the matter came up for plea before Lusaka High Court judge Charles Zulu, Wednesday, one of the state advocates L. Zinduna said when she contacted Keith Mweemba, who was believed to be part of the defence counsel, he informed her that he had not been retained in the matter.
“My Lord, I spoke to Keith Mweemba and he informed me that he has not been retained in this matter,” said Zinduna.
Judge Zulu then asked the accused how the matter was going to proceed now that the lawyer they claimed would represent them said he had not been retained.
“Yesterday, the matter could not take off in terms of you taking a plea because your lawyers were not in court. There was an understanding that you were represented by the two lawyers but the lawyers say they have not been retained, he has no instruction to represent you, how do we proceed?” asked Judge Zulu.
And speaking on behalf of the accused, John Mwanza asked the court if they could be assisted with Justice Minister Mulambo Haimbe’s number so that he could help them find other lawyers.
“We are requesting if we can be given the number for Haimbe Mulambo. We want him to help us engage the lawyers,” said Mwanza.
Judge Zulu urged the accused to put their house in order, warning that he would adjourn their case to the next criminal session if they failed to do so by Friday.
“We are faced with another predicament, we can’t proceed. It is your choice to engage lawyers but Legal Aid at the High Court is available. But if you don’t want to do that, it’s your choice. Put your house in order, we can’t plan because yours is a big case, we have 12 cases within one. It is affecting our business, if you won’t be ready by Friday, I will have no option but to adjourn to the next criminal session. Matter has been adjourned to Monday, the 17th of January, 2022. If no progress, we will adjourn the matter to the next session,” said Judge Zulu.