Lusaka ~ Sat, 26 Sept 2020
By ZR Reporter
Lusaka resident magistrate Alice Walusiku has reported lawyer Nchima Nchito State Counsel and other defence lawyers representing Ultimate Insurance to the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) for alleged professional misconduct.
In this case, three Marshlands Consortium Limited directors are facing 15 counts of forgery, obtaining money by false pretences and uttering false documents, among them, Ultimate Insurance Company Limited shareholder resolutions.
The accused are Tobias Milambo, 48, a chartered insurer of Woodlands, Nachi Musonda, 33, an insurer of Chongwe and Richard Lubemba, 31, of Chalala, also an insurer who denied the charges.
Magistrate Walusiku reported the lawyers for the accused persons to LAZ after she established that the medical report which Mr Nchima Nchito tendered in court was a forgery.
The magistrate was also not happy that the defence lawyers have made several applications before the superior courts which have all been declined.
Some of the applications were that the case be reviewed for alleged bias.
The defence team led by Mr Nchima Nchito, Dr John Mulwila, Mr Jonas Zimba and Mr Chisuwo Hamwela, had told the court that one of the accused persons, Musonda, missed court because he had come into contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19 and was out in quarantine before presenting a medical report for their client.
But state prosecutor Noah Mwanza questioned the authenticity of the medical report.
It was at this point that the magistrate summoned CIDRZ operations manager Mabvuto Phiri and a doctor from Levy Mwanawasa Teaching Hospital, Dr Cynthia Thandiwe Phiri, to explain Musonda’s COVID-19 status.
Mabvuto Phiri said Musonda’s medical report was not generated by CIDRZ, meaning it was a clear forgery.
And Dr Phiri explained that she acted on the document which Musonda availed to her to refer him to do a swab for COVID-19 but that she did not see his results as they were given direct to him.
Magistrate Walusiku then revoked Musonda’s summons.
Musonda joined his co-accused Milambo and Lubemba in remand after their summons were earlier revoked about three weeks ago.
The defence lawyers then applied for bail for their clients but the state objected.
In her ruling, magistrate Walusiku refused to admit the three directors to bail, saying the defence have not shown how their clients will suffer prejudice if not granted.
She said from the time the matter was taken to court over a year ago, the accused have engaged in delaying tactics.
“There has been one application after the other by the defence. From the first day, accused embarked on a calculated move to stop these proceedings which can best be described as forum shopping,” she said.
“No demonstration has been shown that they will suffer prejudice if bail was not granted. It is therefore, my considered view that it is a lesser evil to remand the accused persons that to let them continue with their as they have demonstrated that they are not willing to submit the criminal jurisdiction of this court,” magistrate Walusiku said.
And magistrate Walusiku said the defence’s decision to move from one higher court to another in bid to prevent trial amounts to forum shopping aimed at embarrassing her.
“This is a proper case to refer to the disciplinary committee of the Law Association of Zambia for further investigations to determine whether the conduct amounted to professional misconduct on the part of the defense team,” ruled magistrate Walusiku.