AN ANTI-CORRUPTION Commission (ACC) senior investigator in the abuse of authority case involving suspended Copperbelt commissioner of police Mary Tembo has told the Ndola Magistrate’s Court that one of the State witnesses declined to testify in the matter because the accused was interfering with him.
Caroline Nkhata, 39, told chief resident magistrate Paul Chisha during trial on Monday that she discovered that Tembo had been interfering with Frederick Kabungo, 40, a senior superintendent at Ndola Central Police Station, hence his failure to testify on the matter.
“Your Honour, I came to discover during my investigations that Mr Kabungo was not ready to testify before court because he had been interfered with by the accused,” Ms Nkhata said.
But when asked in cross-examination by defence lawyer Derrick Mulenga if she reported to court that the witness was being intered with, Ms Nkhata said she never did.
Mr Mulenga then cautioned Ms Nkhata that failure to report the interference of witnesses was wrong because that was a serious offence.
He told the court that Tembo never interfered with Mr Kabungo but the witness was withdrawn from giving evidence by the prosecution because they were aware that what the superintendent was going to say in court would be favourable to the accused.
Mr Mulenga charged that the prosecution had become uncomfortable with Mr Kabungo’s testimony following a pre-trial session that was conducted in Lusaka where the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Mutembo Nchito, was also present.
Ms Nkhata, when further cross-examined whether she was aware of the enquiry files which Mr Kabungo had opened aimed at identifying people leaking information from the provincial commissioner’s office, said she was not aware of it as there was no such operation and if there was one, it is only Tembo who was aware of it.
Ruling has been set for March 25.
Ndola chief resident magistrate Paul Chisha made the ruling yesterday after the State, through ACC lawyer Boniface Chiwala, told the court that the prosecution had closed its case.
Mr Chiwala said the State will file written submissions today while the defence will file in within one week.
And the last prosecution witness, Chileshe Mulenga, 38, an acting senior investigations officer at ACC, told the court that he was the one assigned to tow the Toyota Cressida registration number F100 belonging to Tembo from a garage to Masala Police Station.
Mr Mulenga also told the court that he effected a seizure order on the vehicle.
In cross-examination, defence lawyer Milner Katolo asked Mr Mulenga why the seizure order was not written on an ACC official letterhead but Mr Mulenga responded that the commission mandated its officers to use plain paper for documentation in the event that official headed paper was not available.
Tembo, 53, of house Number 4, Bokafu Street in Ndola, is charged with two counts of abuse of authority of office.
It is alleged that Tembo, on dates unknown but between May 1 and June 30, 2013, abused the authority of her office as commissioner of police for the Copperbelt by obtaining a Toyota Corolla registration number AAX 5716 from Grizzly Mining Limited and used it for her own benefit.
In the second count, it is alleged that Tembo, on dates unknown but between November 1 and December 31, 2012 in Ndola, abused her authority of office as commissioner of police for the Copperbelt by asking Grizzly Mining Limited, a private company, to fix her personal Toyota Cressida registration number F100.