AN arresting officer has told the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court that he made up his mind to arrest and charge former president Edgar Lungu’s former press aide Amos Chanda and two others with use of insulting language and obstruction after they opted to remain silent.
Meanwhile, the court has reserved ruling on whether Chanda and the others have a case to answer in the matter to February 23.
This is in a case in which Chanda, his wife Mable and sister-in-law Ruth Mulenga are charged with three counts of using insulting language and obstructing Anti-Corruption Commission officers.
In the first count, it is alleged that Chanda, on October 27, last year, in Lusaka used insulting language on the officers from ACC namely; Friday Tembo, William Chilufya and Christopher Siwakwi in due execution of their duty to which he said ‘idiots’, ‘you criminals’ and other words to that effect, conduct likely to give provocation to the said officers so as to cause the said officers to break the peace or commit an offence.
In the second count, it is alleged that Mable and Ruth on the same day, used insulting language repeatedly on the officers from ACC namely; Mbonyiwe Ndalameta, Lomtuzi Bili, Neeta Kufekisa, Swithen Lusaka, Christopher Siwakwi, Friday Tembo, William Chilufya and Clement Chansa, in the due execution of their duty.
In the last count, it is alleged that the trio, on the same day, allegedly obstructed and delayed officers from the ACC namely senior investigations officer Friday Tembo and others in lawful exercise of their duty to search house number 67 Elm road, Woodlands, Lusaka by dishonestly stating that the keys to the bedrooms were with another person who had travelled out of town when in fact not.
Testifying before Lusaka Chief Resident Magistrate Dominic Makalicha, Tuesday, Joseph Mbewe, an investigations officer from ACC told the court that he warned and cautioned Chanda and his co-accused on the allegations levelled against them but the three opted not to say anything.
He testified that he was assigned to conduct investigations about the allegations by ACC officers who were conducting searches at Chanda’s three properties at Njolwe farm in Chongwe, State lodge and ELM road in Woodlands.
The witness said during the said investigations, officers kept on complaining about being insulted and obstructed by the accused persons while performing their duties.
Mbewe said he carried out investigations and after he finished with the investigations he summoned the accused persons so that they could give their side of the story.
He said he warned and cautioned the three but they opted to remain silent.
“I administered warn and caution statements to the accused persons individually but they all opted to remain silent in the presence of their defence lawyer. I decided to charge and arrest the first accused person with one count of obstruction and another count of using insulting language,” the witness testified.
Mbewe said he further decided to charge Mable and Ruth with obstruction and another charge of use of insulting language.
During cross examination, the witness was asked whether there was something special about his testimony before court.
In response, Mbewe said he did not know, which led to the defence lawyer saying “I thought so”.
After Mbewe’s testimony, the State closed its case.
Magistrate Makalicha has since reserved ruling on case or no case to answer to February 23, 2022.