Police acting woman chief inspector Veronica Shawa has told the Lusaka High Court that she had no hand in the death of Zambia Air Force Flight Sergeant Mark Choonngwa who died in police cells in March, 2017.
Shawa, who is one of the murder accused in the case, told the court during defence that Sgt Choongwa was, instead, beaten up by his fellow inmates, leading to his death in the cells.
She has told the court that her decision to detain the Sgt Choongwa led to his death.
In this case, it is alleged that Shawa and three other police officers caused the death of Sgt Choongwa while in police custody in March, 2017.
During cross examination, Shawa told the court that her decision to detain Sgt Choongwa was a result of his refusal to obey lawful orders after the deceased allegedly assaulted a police officer, an offence for which he was charged.
She, however, denied causing his death, saying the officers tried their best to save Sgt Choongwa’s life by rushing him to the University Teaching Hospital (UTH).
She explained that she panicked when she was informed that a suspect was unwell and needed help because it was her duty to save life.
Shawa also refuted the evidence that the deceased was dragged and pushed into the cell where he landed on his head.
She said Sgt Choongwa, who was initially taken to Woodlands Police Station for hitting into another person’s vehicle in Lusaka’s Nyumba Yanga area, was left in the cell in good health as he could stand on his own.
Shawa said three weeks later, she was surprised to have been summoned at Lilayi senior officers’ mess where a tribunal was set and she was interrogated about the happenings on the day Choongwa lost his life.
She said she was later warned by a member of tribunal about possible arrests over the matter as it was “a very serious one”.