INK-TECH managing director Matthews Mohan has been sentenced to death for the gruesome murder of Lusaka business executive Sajid Itowala, bringing to an end one of the most hair-raising trials in Zambia’s history.
Supreme Court Judge Gregory Phiri, sitting as High Court judge, sentenced Mohan to death and acquitted Mohan’s accused brothers and Crown Paints proprietors, Idris Suleiman and Shabbir Patel on grounds that there was no incriminating evidence linking the duo to the offence of murder.
Mr Justice Phiri said Mohan, who was the mastermind in the murder of Mr Itowala, who was Cyclone Hardware managing director, seemed agitated and excited during the time he committed the offence as it could be seen from the way he was issuing instructions and dishing out money to silence witnesses in the case.
This was in a case in which the trio was accused of gruesomely killing Mr Itowala on July 21, 2009 and dumped his body which had multiple bullet wounds in his motor vehicle on Mumbwa Road.
“I wish you should have told the court who was the main sponsor, the source who was funding you because you received and dished a lot of monies, an indication that there were many people interested.
“For the foregoing, there is only one sentence looking at the overwhelming incriminating evidence against the convict. I, therefore, award you the convict the sentence of death. You will be hanged at an appropriate time until you are pronounced dead. May God have mercy on your soul,” Mr Justice Phiri said.
He said the prosecutions’ attempts to link the two brothers to the case failed because the issue of their former worker whom they abused due to the deceased’s attempt to help him obtain a work permit fell short as there was no connection linking it to the murder.
Mr Justice Phiri said the evidence on the court record showed that some prosecution witnesses gave incriminating evidence which warranted them to be jointly charged with the trio in the case, and wondered why the Police spared them.
He mentioned Lusaka lawyer Frank Tembo, Chileshe Shikabenga, and his younger brother Chuntu who were accomplices in the murder of Mr Itowala and should have been jointly charged with the trio.
Mr Justice Phiri said the deceased was first abducted and taken to house number 1 Ngulube Road where independent people witnessed how he differed with Mohan and led to his subsequent beating and tying of his legs and hands using chains.
Mr Itowala was driven in a GX Land Cruiser to Lusaka West where another vehicle, a Land Rover was waiting.
“That Mohan ordered a man called Shaun to kill him, he also issued fresh instructions to kill him at short range using his gun which he pulled from his car after theirs failed to fire.
“The deceased was first tied like an animal being prepared to be slaughtered and murdered in cold blood,” he said.
The judge also bemoaned the manner in which the Police officers handled the first investigations, saying had it not been for the second probe, the court was going to face serious challenges in handling the case during trial.
In mitigation, Mohan’s lawyer pleaded with the court to slap his client with another sentence other than death due to extenuating circumstances.