Magistrate warns he’ll revoke GBM’s bail terms
LUSAKA Magistrate Sandford Ngobola has warned former Defence Minister, Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba never to miss court or he will revoke his bail and send him to prison.
This was after the defence lawyer Bonaventure Mutale made an application to have the matter adjourned on grounds that Mwamba was unwell and had been hospitalised.
Mr Mutale submitted that Mwamba was a long term patient of high blood pressure and was admitted at Medlands Hospital in Lusaka.
“From the record it was evident that the accused during trial was once hospitalised and is currently bedridden, and is seeing the doctor at Medlands Hospital, the doctor has advised he should be on five days bed rest,” he submitted.
However, magistrate Ngobola in his ruling warned the accused person and his lawyers not to continue with such applications of adjournments.
“I’m warning the defence and also the accused, if this continues I will revoke his bail and remand him in custody,” he said.
In this matter, Mwamba pleaded not guilty to eight counts of conflict of interest, one count of money laundering and 15 counts of being in possession of property suspected to be proceeds of crime.
In response to the defence’s application, the state expressed disappointment saying they hoped that the matter could progress.
“It’s a disappointment to hear this, we hoped that this matter could progress. We have been shown the sick note and indicate that the accused person is unwell, however we haven’t made any follow up but will rely on the documents presented, at the next sitting, the defence team should adequately prepare for the defence,” the state said.
When the matter came up for commencement of Defense on Monday, Mwamba through his Lawyers asked the Economic and Financial crimes court to give him time to scrutinize the exhibits before the court as he commences his defense.
Magistrate Ngobola has given Mwamba a benefit of doubt and adjourned the matter to March 16, 2023.
It is alleged in count one that Mwamba on unknown date but between December 27, 2012 and
March, 31 2013 in Lusaka, being a public officer, namely, Minister of Defence, did fail to disclose interest in writing, relating to Contract No. MPC 111-12 for the supply and delivery of General Purpose Shelter Tents for Zambia Army, valued at US$ 1,220,000.00, a transaction that concerns the Ministry of Defence, a public body.
It is alleged in count two that Mwamba on unknown date but between January 1, 2013, and July 30, 2013, in Lusaka, being a public officer, namely, Minister of Defence, did fail to disclose interest in writing, relating to Contract No. MPC 024-2013 for the supply and delivery of Military Uniforms for Zambia Army, valued at US$1,208,575.00, a transaction that concerns the Ministry of Defence, a public body.