By LUCY PHIRI
The Lusaka magistrate court has reserved May 18, 2022 for the two rulings in which the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the Defence Lawyers raised preliminary issues in the matter in which former Tourism Minister Ronald Chitotela is facing two charges of possession of property suspected to be proceeds of crime.
Chitotela, 42, yesterday appeared in the Lusaka Magistrate court before Principle magistrate Jennifer Bwalya but could however not take plea as the defence team represented by Andrew Kombe raised a preliminary issue.
The defence argued that Chitotela was previously arrested and charged on the same offences and a settlement agreement was entered into with the ACC and registered in court.
The State, being represented by Martin Mayembo objected to the application stating that a settlement agreement under section 80(3) cannot operate as a bar to the proceedings before court.
The state further argued that Section 138 of the Criminal Procedure Code gives guidance on when an accused person can plead a defence of having been tried before on the same facts and same offences.
“In the previous case, the accused was facing nine counts and in this matter before the court he is facing two counts,’’ he said.
The State also raised a preliminary issue in which they argued that one of the defence Lawyers Mr Andrew Kombe should recuse himself from the case as he is a potential witness in the matter.
It is alleged in count one Mr Chitotela on unknown but between May 1 2017 and October 30, 2018 in the Lusaka District of the Lusaka Province of the Republic of Zambia, jointly and whilst acting together with another person unknown did possess property No. 3270/M, valued at K380, 000 property reasonably suspected of being proceed of crime
Count two alleges that Chitotela, a director and shareholder of RCK Travel and Tour Guide Limited on dates unknown but between November 3, 2017 and December 5, 2017 in the Lusaka District of the Lusaka Province of the Republic of Zambia, did receive a total of K500, 000 from Veil Construction Limited through RKC Travel and Guide Limited account number 62489001398, property reasonably suspected of being a proceed of crime.
Magistrate Bwalya has since reserved ruling to be delivered on May 18, 2022 on the two issues raised.