In this audio, Hakainde Hichilema’s defence lawyer Jack Mwiimbu complains that the treason case has not made progress this week because the State doesn’t seem eager to commit the accused to the High Court for trial.
Last month, the Director of Public Prosecution’s office issued a letter of committal, compelling magistrate David Simusamba to surrender the treason accused to the High Court for commencement of trial, but Hichilema’s defence team asked the court to disregard the committal certificate on grounds that it was not signed by the substantive DPP.
This forced magistrate Simusamba to surrender the dispute over the validity of the committal certificate to the High Court for judicial review and adjourned the case to June 12, 2017.
The defence team then U-turned and made an application on Monday asking the court to ignore their concerns over the validity of the committal certificate and further applied that the date for hearing be moved forward.
Mwiimbu however explained that magistrate Simusamba has been away and the DPP’s office refused to sign the consent order, explaining that the matter must be heard in court.
“We find that very strange because they have been wanting him to be committed [to the High Court for trial] now that we have agreed that the matter be committed, they are now refusing [saying] until the matter is heard in court,” Mwiimbu said.
Take a listen:
“Unfortunately there has not been progress to set a date for hearing. What happened is that we did file documents in court to apply to abridge time. Unfortunately the magistrate was not there. We further went to draw a consent order so that the DPP’s office can sign. They have told us that they cannot sign because they want to hear the mater in court,” Mwiimbu said.
“So we are waiting for Monday, we were told that [magistrate David] Simusamba will be around then. So we hope that we will be able to resolve it on Monday.”
Hichilema was arrested on April 11, 2017 and he has remained in remand prison since then.