By CHARLES MUSONDA
TRIAL has again failed to continue in a case nine people have been charged with allegedly stealing US$160, 000 from former National Democratic Congress (NDC) president Chishimba Kambwili’s home.
This was after the sixth accused person Stacey Jane Jones, a 23-year-old student and friend of Kambwili’s daughter Chanda, yesterday failed to show up in court for the second day running and neither were her sureties present to explain her absence.
Kambwili is already on the stand as first prosecution witness and the continued trial was initially set for Monday this week but only four of the nine accused persons were before court after which the case was adjourned to yesterday.
When the matter was called eight accused persons were present but Jones was not.
Her stand-in defence lawyer said she was equally unaware of yesterday’s date, which she said was only communicated to her yesterday morning, adding that her client’s absence was not deliberate.
In response public prosecutor Samuel Zulu said it was misleading for the lawyer to tell Lusaka Magistrate Nthandose Chabala that Jones was unaware of the date.
Mr. Zulu said all the accused persons were present when the case was adjourned after Kambwili opened his evidence-in- chief and therefore the issue of miscommunication of the dates could not arise.
He said the State will take it that Jones’ absence was deliberate and disrespect to the court, adding that continuing to adjourn the matter on flimsy grounds will be unfair and an act of injustice on Mr. Kambwili’s part as he had to abandon other issues to attend court.
In the interest of justice, Ms. Chabala allowed the defence’s application for an adjournment to next Wednesday, June 16, 2021.
The accused persons include Mr. Kambwili’s five former domestic workers who are Rodney Muntanga, a 47-year-old houseboy; Esther Munyeka, 29, a maid; George Bwalya, a driver aged 49, Millan Chembe, a 35-year-old security guard, and Charles Kamutengo, a 54-year-old gardener, all charged with theft by servant.
Others are Jones, David Zimba, a 52-year-old retired police officer; Ian Kalunga, 38, a police officer, and Jacob Sinadambwe, a 32-year-old soldier and it is alleged that they stole the money from Kambwili’s bedroom between December 14 and 27, 2020 at his Woodlands home.