THE Lusaka Magistrates’ Court has found former president Edgar Lungu’s press aide Amos Chanda and two others with a case to answer in a matter in which they are charged with three counts of using insulting language and obstructing Anti-Corruption Commission officers.
In a ruling yesterday, Lusaka Chief Resident Magistrate Dominic Makalicha said the ACC witnesses had proved that Chanda, his wife Mable and sister-in-law Ruth Mulenga, insulted and obstructed the officers when they went to conduct searches at Chanda’s premises.
He said he was placing the three on their defence so that the court could hear from them on the allegations levelled against them before passing a judgement..
Magistrate Makalicha said the State proved to the court that the conduct of the accused persons of allegedly insulting the ACC officers and obstructing them from carrying out their duties resulted in the delay of the searches.
He said by virtue of Chanda calling the officers “idiots and criminals”, that in itself was an insult.
Magistrate Makalicha said Mable and Ruth also insulted the officers by calling them names and obstructed them from conducting their duties.
“It’s not in dispute that the words used were insulting and likely to cause the officers to breach the conduct of peace and can end up committing an offence,” he said.
Magistrate Makalicha said a prima facie case has been established by the prosecution against the accused persons.
“It is very clear in this matter that important ingredients of the allegations have been proved such as the use of idiot to the ACC officers by the first accused person. I find it insulting even the language used by the second and third accused persons,” he said.
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.
The three had earlier asked the court to acquit them, arguing that the State had not provided evidence to warrant the court to place them on their defence.
However, the Anti-Corruption Commission asked the court to find the accused persons with a case to answer, arguing that the three must be given an opportunity to present their story in defence.