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48 Houses owner asks Financial court not allow lawyer to testify

By LUCY PHIRI

THE alleged owner of the infamous 48 houses now (51) Charles Loyana has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Court not to allow his lawyer, Mr Chali Chitala to testify in his matter  because there is a lawyer-client relationship between them and had some dealings together.

Loyana and his wife Susan Sinkala are facing three counts of possessing and concealing properties suspected to be proceeds of crime.

When the matter came up yesterday for continuation of trial, Loyona, through his lawyer, Mr Willis Muhango, made an application that the witness on stand was his lawyer and cannot testify in the matter concerning the properties because they had some dealings together.

 Mr Chitala is Loyana’s lawyer in whose name he transferred some of the properties after he was advised that he cannot put the names of his children on title deeds as they were minors who cannot hold title.

Mr Muhango said his client said Mr Chitala was his alleged lawyer regarding the same property dealings and cannot testify against him.

“If the court wants some evidence to know if truly there is a lawyer-client relationship, they should put the first accused person on oath to prove the relationship,” he said.

But the state through Senior Legal and Prosecution Officer Gloria Maimbolwa Muyunda said the defence should adduce before court a letter showing that indeed there was a relationship between the two.

“The defence alleges that there is a lawyer-client relationship between the first accused person and the witness Mr Chitala. Based on their submissions, they have not adduced before court a letter showing that indeed there is a relationship,” Ms Muyunda said.

She said if it happens that indeed a relationship exists between them, the defence will cross examined the witness.

“The witness should testify and the evidence adduced will further show that there was no lawyer-client relationship between himself and the accused person, then the defence will have an opportunity based on evidence that would be adduced to cross-examine, Ms Muyunda said. In response, Magistrate Faides Hamaundu said from the instructions made by defence to allow his client to take oath to prove the relations, they should give her time to prepare for a ruling.

“I will give guidance to look out for the case, I cannot order that we go into trial stating the claim and evidence that there was a lawyer-client relationship. I need to establish whether the witness can continue to be a witness or not, I will allow the defence to file the affidavit stating reasons and the state to respond,” Ms Hamaundu said.

She adjourned the matter to July 14, 2022 for ruling.

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