By CHARLES MUSONDA
The fresh indictment in which businessman Francis Muchemwa is charged with two companies for allegedly possessing property reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime is defective and should be amended, defence lawyer Tutwa Ngulube has told the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court.
Yesterday, the prosecution, through Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) lead prosecutor Daniel Ngwira, substituted the earlier indictment in which Muchemwa, 38, was facing seven counts of similar offences and replaced it with the one where he is charged with Friltech Networks Zambia Limited and Altitude Properties Limited which are being represented by their respective directors Mwila Muchemwa, 28, and Ketiwe Tembo.
In the first three counts, Muchemwa is charged with allegedly possessing properties number L/26392/M, L/26395/M, and L/28477/M/H all in Silverest area off Great East Road in Chongwe.
In count four Muchemwa is charged with Friltech Networks Zambia Limited for allegedly possessing property number L/284/77/M/J while in the fifth and sixth counts he is charged with Altitude Properties Limited for allegedly possessing two FAW trucks registration numbers BAR 9058ZM and BAR 9059ZM.
In counts seven and eight, Muchemwa is charged with alleged failure to comply with provisions of the Income Tax Act; and tax evasion.
After all the three accused persons denied all the charges, Mr. Ngulube objected to the indictment on grounds that it is defective and should be amended.
He said Friltech Networks and Altitude Properties are limited companies that can be charged on their own. He said a director of a limited company cannot be charged for possession of properties owned by the company.
He said it must also be shown that Mwila Muchemwa and Ketiwe Tembo are appearing in their representative capacities on behalf of limited companies because if it is not clear they may end up being punished like accused persons when in the actual fact they are companies.
Mr. Ngulube said particulars in the charge of failure to comply with provisions of the Income Tax Act do not disclose the offence Muchemwa is accused of having committed while the charge of tax evasion has not specified the actual acts and the dates Muchemwa committed the offence between 2010 and 2021.