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GOLD SUSPECT KASANDA ‘ABDUCTED’

...as drama in gold, cash scandal unfolds, Makebi Zulu has claimed Kasanda was snatched by State agents for naming, shaming some State House officials involved in the heist 

…as drama in gold, cash scandal unfolds, Makebi Zulu has claimed Kasanda was snatched by State agents for naming, shaming some State House officials involved in the heist 

By LUCY PHIRI 

SHADRECK Kasanda, one of the 11 suspects in the raging gold and US$5.6 million heist was yesterday allegedly abducted by State agents at the Magistrate Court, just hours before he could appear in court, his lawyer Makebi Zulu has disclosed.

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Mr Zulu told journalists at the Magistrate Court that Kasanda had become a targeted victim of the State after he had allegedly named and shamed some State House personnel involved in the now infamous gold and cash scandal. 

Kasanda was allegedly snatched from the Lusaka Magistrate Court holding cells  prompting his attorney to demand the summoning of the officer in charge at Drug enforcement Commission (DEC) to show course why contempt charges should not proffered on him.

Mr Zulu of Makebi Zulu Advocates has since described the abduction of Kasanda by State agents as the highest case of lawlessness on the part of the government.

He said Kasanda was yesterday, at 14:00 hours expected to appear before court by way of a court order but the State in an act reminiscent of mafia conduct moved to abduct his client and took him to some unknown location.  

“Shadreck (Kasanda) has been abducted…I call this abduction because there is a pending warrant, a court order that he should have been in court today (yesterday) at 14:00 hours. There is no way the law enforcement agencies and abduct someone who is supposed to appear before court. Shadreck (Kasanda) is appearing by way of a court order. His abduction…the act of taking him away from holding cells to wherever they have taken him is sheer lawlessness and an act that is surely unbecoming,” Mr Zulu said.  

Mr Zulu said there were attemopts by the State to turn Kasanda testify against himself that he had committed the offence of aggravated robbery so that he could be remanded in custody without bail.

He said the law firm had made an application for bail for Kasanda after the State had put up a certificate to deny the accused bail because according to him, the State was aware of the direction the case was taking hence the abduction of his client.

Mr Zulu stated the State was trying to avoid the court process and that was why it had decided to take Kasanda away from court.

“The State has struggled to explain why Kasanda was not in court. Even when we brought in the custody officer, the Stated objected in an attempt to suggest that they knew something.”

“Let Kasanda be given justice, let the court hear the matter to the fullest. This issue of victimizing him (Kasanda) merely because he managed to tell the State the person who was involved in the gold scandal at State House should not happen. Let everyone in this matter be subjected to the same law. This is not the rule of law and when you disobey court orders, you should be cited for contempt and we are moving to cite them for contempt,” Mr Zulu said. 

The alleged abduction of Kasanda was brought to light after the State Prosecutor Ms Gracilia Mulenga informed the court that one of the six accused persons (Kasanda) was not in court.

Magistrate Mulenga informed the court that she had received information that unidentified law enforcement agency officers had picked Kasanda from the holding cells for questioning on other charges.

This is a case in which Kasanda and his co-accused, including five Egyptians are charged with the offence of espionage which is contrary to section 318 of the laws of Zambia and is triable by the high court.

Mr. Zulu said it was contemptuous for the State to have taken away Kasanda because the court had made an order that the accused person needed to be present.

“The action is contemptuous at this court. The court made an order that the accused person needed to be present. They cannot defy an order. They could have let the proceedings carry on. On the absence of accused number 6, these proceedings cannot continue and that is being defiant of this court. We say that contempt proceedings be issued against whosoever has defied the order of this court to appear and order why they decided to keep the accused away from court,” Mr Zulu submitted.

Mr. Kelvin Kapaso, 46, an inspector at the Lusaka magistrate cells told the court that Kasanda was picked from the holding cells by DEC officers.

“The accused person together with his colleagues with some lawyers came to have their docket signed. A few minutes after a DEC officer came to get Kasanda,” Mr Kapaso submitted.

And chief resident magistrate Davies Chibwili agreed with the defence that the abduction of Kasanda was a clear contempt and the officer in charge should be brought to tell the court what transpired.

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