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Katanga asks court to withdraw charges if not ready to prosecute

By LUCY PHIRI

FORMER Deputy Inspector General of Police Charity Masambo Katanga through her lawyers has asked the State to withdraw the charge if they are not ready to prosecute the matter.

This was after the state applied for an adjournment stating that the witness who was supposed to testify was unwell, the arresting officer was also unwell and the Chinese interpreter who was supposed to interpret was not before the court.

“Your honor, we apologize for this inconvenience, we ask that this matter be adjourned to tomorrow,’’ said Mr Mukuma Chipawa, state advocate. 

However, the defence objected to the application stating that the state should be serious and make necessary applications if they are not ready to prosecute the matter.

“Procedurally, witnesses are called when the matter is scheduled for trial. And this case was scheduled on November 11, 2022. However, the state conveniently decided not to call witnesses (issue summons on time) since the adjournment of the case the state was supposed to issue summons to the witness. And after looking at the summons before court, the summons shows 13 December for calling the witness to come on the 14th of December,’’ defence urged.

The defence further  argued that, the state should not have the liberty of arresting people and decide  how the proceedings should be made before court.

“We sympathize with the emotions submitted by the defense, this matter commenced yesterday, and two witnesses testified, for the defense to allege that the state is not serious is a gross misconduct,’’ state replied.

In delivering the ruling, Chief resident magistrate Davies Chibwili reluctantly granted the state an adjournment and said it was a last one.

 “I have taken note of the reasons advanced by the state and the concerns by the defense, though I find this to be inconvenient, however, I will grant the application but should not happen in future,’’ he ruled.

In this matter, Katanga is facing one count of possession of property reasonably suspected of being proceeds of crime contrary to section 71(1) of the forfeiture of the proceeds of crime Act No. 19 of 2010 of the laws of Zambia. Trial continues today.

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