Chirwa’s lawyers from Simeza, Sangwa and Associates did not show up when he appeared for his abuse of authority case which resulted in the Lusaka magistrate’s court adjourning the matter to today.
This is to enable his newly-engaged lawyer, Mulilo Kabesha to retrieve Chirwa’s documents from his former lawyers.
This is in a matter in which Chirwa, 58, of plot 206/101 Ibex Hill in Lusaka, and Mwale, 50, of 5 Chavuma Road, Highridge in Kabwe, are charged with corruption and abuse of authority of office.
When the matter came up for commencement of trial yesterday, the State informed Principal Magistrate Obister Musukwa that they were ready for trial.
But Chirwa’s lawyers were not present, resulting in Mr Musukwa to stand down the matter for 20 minutes to enable him to contact his lawyers.
Mr Musukwa warned Chirwa in advance that should his lawyers fail to appear, he would proceed without them because they were fully aware about the starting of the case.
However, when the court resumed 20 minutes later, Chirwa informed the court that his lawyers were not available and that he had since abandoned them.
Chirwa further informed the court that he had decided to engage Mr Kabesha as his new defence lawyer to which both the court and the State had no objection.
At this point, Mr Kabesha applied to have the matter adjourned to today to enable him to obtain Chirwa’s file from his former lawyers.
Mr Musukwa said in the interest of justice, he would adjourn the matter to today.
Chirwa is charged in the first count with failure to disclose interest contrary to section 28 (1) of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Act number 3 of 2012.
It is alleged that Chirwa, between November 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012 in Lusaka, being a public officer, namely chief executive officer of Zambia Railways Limited, did recommend at the Zambia Railways Board meeting that Clavel Incorporation Limited, a company in which he is an officer and a shareholder, be given a contract to train employees of the railway company without disclosing his interest.
In count two, Chirwa and Mwale are charged with abuse of authority of office contrary to section 21 (1) a of the ACC Act number 3 of 2012.
It is alleged that the two, between February 1 and March 2, 2013 in Kabwe, being public officers, namely chief executive officer and finance director, respectively, of Zambia Railways Limited, jointly and whilst acting together did abuse authority of their offices by authorising the payment of about K72, 282 to Fallsway Apartments for Chirwa’s accommodation, an amount which was beyond his entitlement.
The act is said to be arbitrary and prejudicial to the rights and interests of the Zambian Government.
The two are in the third count charged with abuse of authority of office contrary to section 21(1) a of the ACC Act number 3 of 2012.