By LUCY PHIRI
Outspoken politician, Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba and his co-accused yesterday could not take plea in the matter in which they are facing 27 counts charges after the defence lawyer applied that some of the counts be quashed on account of duplicity.
Mwamba in this matter is jointly charged with Lusaka businessman Adolphus Mubanga.
The two are facing 27 counts of money laundering and being in possession of property suspected to be proceeds of crime.
Mwamba and Mubanga appeared for commencement of plea but however could not take plea as the defence team represented by Mr Bonaventure Mutale made an application to have some of the charges his client was facing quashed.
Mr Mutale informed the court that before the accused persons could take plea he had a preliminary issue to raise.
He said the issue concerns the indictment involving the 24 counts the first accused person was facing.
Mr Mutale said to make life easier for the magistrate, he needs to reduce the argument on the indictment so the court could not spend much time.
“Your honour, this is anchored on article 18(1) and 2(b) of the constitution as read together with section 134 and 136 of the criminal procedure code,” he said.
He also said the first count does not disclose the first accused as he was not a public officer.
“Secondly the count does not disclose the interest in the contracts referred to in the first eight counts.
“Count one to eight says that the first accused is charged based on that he was a public officer in the Ministry of Defence but the law says the public officer does not include a cabinet minister,” he said.
Mr Mutale said count nine and ten do not disclose the nature of the offence the accused person ought to answer and count eleven in the indictment refers to another entity namely Germins Motorways Limited as a corporate entity so the charge should be directed to them.
He also said that count 12 to 24 on the indictment is bad for duplicity because they alleged more than one offence in one count.
“The counts should be quashed from being bad to duplicity, “ he said.
He also argued that two accused persons have been jointly charged when there is no relationship in the offences they are charged with.
“This court should delink the two cases so that each accused person is tried separately,” he said
The court adjourned the matter to June 24 for ruling.
Meanwhile, Patriotic Front acting vice president Given Lubinda has pleaded not guilty to four counts of corrupt practices involving US$539,000.
Lubinda, 58, of Kingsland City on Twin Palm Road in Ibex Hill, is charged with four counts of being in possession of property suspected to be proceeds of crime.
When the matter came up yesterday in the Economic and Financial Crimes Court, magistrate Sandford Ngobola read the charge to him, he understood and denied.