THREE Bulgarian nationals have pleaded not guilty to three counts of stealing over K945,000 from automated teller machines (ATM) in the Lusaka magistrate’s Court.
This is in a case in which Milko Stayanova Ketstadinov, 44, Hrito Ivanovdon Kov, 39, and Hassan Alwe Al Batti, 29, are charged with unauthorised access of intercepting data contrary to the Laws of Zambia.
When the matter came up for plea before chief resident magistrate Joshua Banda yesterday, the trio said they understood the charge but denied committing the offence.
Earlier, the trio had applied through their lawyers for the court to amend or quash the indictment because it was defective as it did not specify the kind of gadgets that they were allegedly found with.
They told the court that gadgets were known by their names but in this case the prosecution had not specified what kind of gadgets the trio was found with.
But the State objected to the application and asked the court to dismiss it saying the indictment was in accordance with the law.
Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) prosecutor Steven Sumbukeni told the court that the word gadget was used in ordinary language and that it was not technical as it could be understood by many.
In his ruling, Mr Banda dismissed the application and said that there was no need for the indictment to be amended or quashed.
Trial date has been set for January 10 this year and the State is expected to bring about 13 witnesses to testify in the matter.
The three are in count one alleged to have, whilst acting together without authority or permission, intentionally accessed or intercepted data by planting a gadget on the ATM belonging to Barclays Bank Zambia.
In count two, the trio had in their possession devices for capturing data, namely foreign ATM gadgets which are designed primarily to overcome security measures for the protection of data.
It is alleged in count three that the trio between November 7, 2013 and December 11, 2013 jointly and whilst acting together did steal K945, 485.97 from Barclays Bank Zambia.
Recently, the Kabwe Magistrate’s Court jailed two Bulgarians suspected of being international ATM scammers for five years after they pleaded guilty to being in possession of implements of forgery.
Ivanov Andrey Petrov, 41, and his co-accused Velidolsk Kiril Metodiew, 36, were spotted around 03:00 hours on December 17 at Kabwe Barclays Bank inserting a device in the ATM but were apprehended by the police as they were trying to flee Kabwe.
The two convicts on December 17 jointly and whilst acting together knowingly and without authority had in possession three high-tech pinhole camera bars, three magnetic card recorders, nine non-branded bank magnetic strip cards, an Acer laptop serial No. SNID 3171272234,6, and data download cables.
They also had a heavy snap blade cutter, and six rolls of double-sided mounting tape devices, all suspected to be implements for forgery.