The Lusaka High Court has issued a ruling declaring that the trial of businessman Shadrick Kasanda and four other individuals, linked to an alleged Gold Scam at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, will be conducted in camera. The decision follows an application filed by the state last week and was delivered by the High Court Judges Ruth Chibbabuka, Charles Zulu, and Situmbeko Chocho.
The ruling, based on Section 15 of the State Security Act, upholds the state’s argument that an open-court trial of Mr. Kasanda’s espionage case could be prejudicial to the country’s interests. The judges emphasized that only the accused persons, defense lawyers, prosecution lawyers, and witnesses will be permitted to attend the trial.
Furthermore, Judge Chibbabuka ruled that, aside from judges, only court reporters and marshals would be allowed in the proceedings, highlighting the sensitive nature of the case. The decision to hold the trial in camera is rooted in national security concerns and is intended to safeguard sensitive information related to the allegations.
Shadrick Kasanda and his co-accused, including Lusaka businessman Jim Belemu, Kenneth Kaunda International Airport Police Commanding Officer Robson Moonga, State Security Officer Francis Mateyo, and Commercial Pilot Patrick Kawanu, have all pleaded not guilty to the charge of espionage.
The espionage case has drawn significant attention due to its connection to an alleged Gold Scam at the airport, and the decision to conduct the trial in camera underscores the gravity and sensitivity of the charges involved.
The court ruling specifies that only essential personnel, directly involved in the legal proceedings, will be present during the trial, highlighting the exceptional circumstances surrounding the case.