Kasanda and group fail to take plea in espionage case due to lack of consent from DPP
LUSAKA gold dealer Shadreck Kasanda and four of his co-accused have again been left cooling their heels for their espionage case by the State.
The Director of Public Prosecutions Gilbert Phiri has not yet authorized the prosecution of the five.
Kasanda is jointly charged with with pilot Patrick Kawanu, State security officer Francis Makai Mateyo, KKIA police commanding officer Robson Moonga and Mahogany Air proprietor Dr Jim Belemu.
The quintet was arrested in connection with the gold gate scandal at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport on August 14, 2023 involving 602 ‘fake’ gold bars weighing 127.2 Kg, worth US$5.7 million.
The gold was to be sold to Egyptian Nationals identified as Walid Fahmi Botros 35 a businessman and farmer, Mounir Gerges Awad 46, an industrial worker, Colonel Mohamed Gouda 45 a retired military personnel, Yasser Mokhtar Abdelghafor 46, a security personnel and Micheal Adel Michel Botros 40, a businessman who were jointly charged with the accused.
The Egyptians were later freed by the State together with Oswald Diangamo an accountant and managing director at ZamQlik solutions limited through a nolle prosequi in September this year.
Submitting before judges Charles Zulu, Ruth Chibbabbuka and Situmbeko Chocho during a special criminal session deputy chief State advocate Nkumbiza Mumba indicated that the accused could not answer to the charge bordering on State security, as Phiri has not issued consent to prosecute them.
“The case was scheduled for plea this morning however the consent to prosecute the accused persons as required by Section 14 of the State Proceedings Act Cap cap 111 of the laws of Zambia has not been granted by the DPP,” she said.
“As a result of the foregoing the accused are unable to take plea. Efforts bare being made for consent to prosecute to be issued in the matter and we are hoping that the same will be done by Wednesday. After which plea will be taken and possible commencement of trial.”
She further made a request for an adjournment.
Jonas Zimba who is representing Kasanda asked the Court to compel the State to avail the defense with warm and caution statements for all the accused persons and missing depositions for witnesses they intend to call.
Zimba’s application was endorsed by Kasanda’s other lawyer Clement Andeleki who is UPND Katombola constituency member of parliament and Martha Mushipe who is representing Dr Belemu.
Mumba who took note of the defense’s request indicated that the issue will be addressed and necessary depositions will be served to the Quintet’s lawyers before Wednesday.
Judge Zulu adjourned the matter to November 15 for plea and possible commencement of trial.
By Mwaka Ndawa