The UPND has lamented that Chinsali senior resident magistrate Julius Malata has set prohibitive bail conditions for 16 of members their officials and members from Kasama who continue to be in detention.

This is a case in which Northern Province UPND Chairman Nathan Ilunga and 15 others are charged with Unlawful possession of offensive weapons contrary to the laws of Zambia.

Particulars of the offence are that the 16 accused on July 11 in Shiwangandu district did possess six catapults, one taser gun, two matchetes, three pellets and 41 stones without lawful authority.

The court granted them K10,000 bail in their own recognizance with one working surety based in Chinsali.

When the matter came up, Monday, The court said the 16 would not enter any plea as the offence required consent from the office of the DPP.

And in a statement, Wednesday, the UPND media team lamented that Magistrate Malata had, among other documents, demanded for the production of Company Certificate of Registration, latest pay slip, Annual Company Returns while the letter of introduction is to be on a company headed paper for each working surety resident in Chinsali.

“The prohibitive conditions have been worsened by the fact that the accused are based in Kasama making it difficult to raise enough sureties who are not only working and resident in Chinsali but are also related to the accused. Company owners are reluctant to produce PACRA documents as well as annual returns as demanded by the court leading to most if not all sureties being disqualified by Magistrate Malata. The court further demanded to view the house after one sureity assured him that he would sell his house should the accused jump bail much to the amusement of the court audience,” the statement read.

“The 16 accused have since applied to the court to have the prohibitive bail conditions varied as meeting them has proven impossible. Defence Counsel Kashumba Mutti was by Press time preparing the application to vary the conditions. In the meantime, a majority of Muchinga and Northern party provincial officials are in Chinsali trying to secure their release leaving the campaigns for the Mayembe ward election with a skeleton manpower.”

Ilunga is jointly charged with his secretary Lazarus Chongo, Youth Chairman Justine Mumbi and others.