I Don’t Know Source Of Presidential Fund, It’s Not Even In The Budget – Peter Chanda


    By Agness Changala-Katongo

    New Generation Party leader Peter Chanda, has testified that he does not know the source of the Presidential Empowerment Fund.

    And NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili has applied to refer the case where he is accused of defaming President Edgar Lungu to the High Court for Constitutional reference of not more than six questions.

    This is in a case before Magistrate Felix Kaoma, where Kambwili is charged with defamation of the President for questioning President Lungu’s association with Lusaka businessman Valden Findlay.

    Chanda who was refered to as a PF surrogate by the defence, at the last hearing is the complainant in this case.

    When the case came up for continued cross examination, Mweemba led Chanda who is on stand into continued cross examination.

    Asked about the Presidential Empowerment Fund source of funds that Kambwili talked about, Chanda said he did not know where the money came from.

    “I don’t know the source of the Presidential Empowerment Fund. Yes it’s not even in the budget. Correct, National Assembly did not approve of this amount,” he said.

    He however, said he was aware that President Lungu had cooperating partners.

    Asked if it was in the yellow book, Chanda said he was not aware whether it was in the yellow book or not.

    Later, Mweemba read a sentence to Chanda which read, “Those are allegations but very serious allegations and you can’t run away from it as a country.”

    Based on the above sentence, Chanda was asked to state if the President’s name was mentioned.

    In response, he said the name of the President was mentioned in the indictment.

    But Mweemba insisted on him answering the question and Chanda said,” Yes the the President’s name was mentioned.”

    After magiatate Kaoma guided him to respond to questions as they were put to him, he concded and said, “on this sentence the President’s name is not mentioned.”

    He said in his compliant, he did not talk about the money from the Presidential Empowerment Fund but drugs.

    Chanda said he took the complaint to court so that Kambwili could prove his allegations against President Lungu.

    “So that Chishimba Kambwili can explain if it is true or not,” Chanda said.

    Asked if it was not him to prove the allegation he levelled against Kambwili, Chanda went mute for some seconds.

    When he was asked to give the answer, he said he was thinking about what he had been asked.

    At this point, the defence abondoned the cross examination and applied to refer the matter to the High Court for Constitutional determination.

    Mweemba possed several questions to Chanda but he did not get the desired responses.

    The development forced him to inform magistrate Kaoma that he would be making an application.

    But magiatate Kaoma ordered Mweemba to continue with cross examination by asking matters that were related to the case.

    He threatened to give the time frame in which the cross examination should be concluded if Mweemba proceeded in the manner he did.

    Magistrate Kaoma said at the pace Mweemba was moving, the case would take years to be concluded.

    But Mweemba proceeded with the application.

    He said the defence wanted the case refered to the High Court to answer already prepared questions.

    The defence lawyer, said the application was anchored on Article 28 (2) 8 of Constitution of Zambia.

    “The Constitutional questions we are referring to the High Court for determination of those questions of the Constitutional nature. The questions the High Court will need to answer are anchored on the provisio of the Bill of Rights. Not in the Constitutional Court but the High Court. Simply say these questions have never been adjudicated upon in this country,” Mweemba said.

    Another defence lawyer Gilbert Phiri said for good order and ease of reference for the court, it would better for the defence to be allowed to file written submissions and arguments.

    But the prosecution through Jonas Zimba objected to the application and said cross examination must proceed.

    Zimba urged magsirate Kaoma to dismiss the application as it lacked merit.

    Another prosecution lawyer Emmanuel Mwansa said there were no matters which had risen to enable the court refer the case to the High Court.

    Mwansa said whatever issues Kambwili had intended to raise could have been done ealier, either in the morning before continued cross examination or before he took plea.

    He said magistrate Kaoma had already guided and the matter should proceed that way.

    “Finally, where this court has given guidinace as to how the matter should proceed, there should not be any reference to the High Court. It was a mere guidinace,” Mwansa said. “Based on those points, the application should be refused.”

    Magistrate Kaoma said he would not allow the defence to reply to the prosecution even though it was procedure, but would proceed into rendering his ruling on the application.

    Magistrate Kaoma allowed Kambwili’s application, saying denying him would be prejudicial.

    He has since asked the defence to file their written submissions of the application by May 15 and the prosecution to file their response by May 22.

    Magiatate Kaoma said he would render his ruling on May 27.

    Magistrate Kaoma said in the event of the ruling, whichever way it goes, the parties should be ready to proceed.

    – DR


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