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STATE ENTERS NOLLE IN HATEMBOS’ ABDUCTION CASE

By ADRIAN MWANZA

THE State has entered a nolle prosequi in the matter in which Senior Chief Mukuni’s wife Veronica and former minister Ackosn Sejani and three others were charged with abduction of Kalomo siblings, Pheluna and Milton who had sued President Hakainde Hichilema over the sale of their farm.

The Hatembo siblings disappeared after their court case was struck out for being time barred.

Director of Public Prosecutions Lillian Siyuni entered a nolle prosequi after the case came up for trial at the Choma Magistrates Court yesterday.

In this case, Sejani, Choma Mayor Javan Simoloka, Fines Malambo, Mazabuka Mayor Vincent Malambo and Veronica were accused of abducting the Haatembo siblings following a court matter over the controversial sale of farm number 1924 in Kalomo to now Republican President Hakainde Hichilema.

State Prosecutor Alex Siulikwa said he had received instructions from the DPP to enter a Nolle and asked the resident magistrate, Ms Ethel Phiri to discontinue.

Defence lawyer Marshal Muchende of M Associates said that they respected the decision by the DPP but that they were not amused and excited about it. Mr Muchende said that they expected a total discontinuation of the case or withdrawal because a Nolle meant that there was still a shadow of doubt.

“We respect the decision of the DPP but we are not happy and I’m going to consult my clients on our next step of action on what has happened today.”

And speaking on behalf of the five accused, Mr Sejani said their arrest was hatched by the former PF government to silence the then opposition leader Mr Hichilema.

“We are going to decide the next step of action we are going to take as a team because as you can see, this was purely a witch hunt,” he said.

Meanwhile, Veronica said that they were happy with the decision and when quizzed on the next step, she said they would leave it there.

“For now we are going to leave it here.  At least we have been vindicated and hope to forge ahead,” she said.

And in a twist of events, Ms Pheluna Hatembo, who was at the court said that she was being threatened by FDD president Edith Nawakwi who wanted to kill them if they did not say what she wanted.

Ms Hatembo said it was for that reason that they went into hiding because of the danger that they were facing.

“Those statements were made under duress since Edith Nawakwi threatened to kill us if we did not do what she wanted,” Ms Hatembo said.

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