The Director of Public Prosecutions Mutembo Nchito caused another adjournment Tuesday July 30, 2013 in the matter Zambia’s former President Rupiah Banda is charged with concealing gratification involving nine light trucks valued at K471,000.
When the matter came up for plea before Kasama Principal Resident Magistrate Obister Musukukwa sitting in Lusaka at exactly 9:07 hours local time, the state through Kapetwa Phiri, an advocate from the Anti-Corruption Commission, informed
the court that there were no instructions from the DPP.
“For that reason your honour we humbly apply to this honourable court for the matter to be adjourned as we await for instructions from the DPP,” Phiri begged the court.
Irene Kunda, one of the defence lawyers from George Kunda and Company, immediately objected and wondered why the state was not ready.
She said the case has been hanging for sometime and as such the accused person is being mentally tortured. Kunda said the adjournments being caused by the State are not in the interest of justice.
Lubinda Linyama, a defence lawyer from Silwamba and Company, stated that the inconvenience the client is suffering is of great concern to the defence.
Linyama was worried that the state had not even given an indication as to how
much time they needed to get instructions from the DPP.
“If the court is agreeing to give the state more time for an adjournment we pray that a condition be set. That condition should be that if they are not ready at the next sitting the accused must stand discharged,” Linyama said.
Another defence lawyer Makebi Zulu from Makebi Zulu Advocates argued that inspite of the fact that the state was granted 20 days at the last hearing to obtain instructions there has been laxity on the part of the prosecution.
“I pray that this honourable court exercises its inherent jurisdiction to set at liberty the accused as clearly the state is not ready,” Zulu said.
However, Dennis Simwinga an advocate from the Drug Enforcement Commission in supporting the application for an adjournment told Magistrate Musukwa that when the DPP looked at the docket he felt he needed to consider a few issues before he could proceed to give consent.
“That came to light when he looked at the docket,” Simwinga said.
Magistrate Musukwa said the continued application for adjournments by the state is not healthy and is concerned about the attitude of the state towards the case.
“I will allow adjournment for the last time hoping the DPP will issue instructions by next sitting,” he said.
The matter will now come up on August 30, 2013 for plea.