By CHARLES MUSONDA
NATIONAL Democratic Congress (NDC) leader Chishimba Kambwili yesterday failed to appear in the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court to open his defence in the matter he has been found with a case to answer for defamation of the President.
If convicted Kambwili faces up to three years imprisonment.
Kambwili was yesterday scheduled to open his defence before Magistrate Felix Kaoma in a case he has been charged with defamation of the President for accusing Lusaka business executive Valden Findlay of using the Presidential jet to courier drugs.
Last November, Mr. Kaoma placed Kambwili on his defence after finding that the prosecution had established a prima facie case against the NDC leader.
This was the same day Mr. Kaoma found Kambwili’s aide-de-camp Christopher Kangwa with a case to answer for allegedly forging a school certificate and obtaining pecuniary advantage amounting to K343, 691.12 from the Road Transport Safety Agency (RTSA) where he got a job as an enforcement officer using the same forged document
Kangwa is alleged to have fraudulently uttered the forged certificate to RTSA human resource manager Emmanuel Longwe to get the job.
When Kambwili’s case came up yesterday, private prosecutor Jonas Zimba said the accused person was not before court for opening of his defence but the State was ready to procced.
One of Kambwili’s lawyers Gilbert Phiri then told the court that his client was indisposed and had sent someone to deliver a message regarding his condition.
After being called to the witness stand, Kambwili’s private secretary Fabian Mutale said the accused person was in Luanshya and had left the hospital but he could not be issued with a sick note because there was only a clinical officer.
Mr. Mutale said Kambwili was advised to go back to the hospital yesterday morning when the doctor was present.
Mr. Kaoma then gave Kambwili a benefit of doubt and adjourned the case to tomorrow February 17, 2021, a preset date for his defence.