LAWYERS representing Nellie Mutti in a case where she is accused of theft involving K35 million government money on Tuesday objected to the production of a flash disk containing a list of voluntary seperatees allegedly coming from Lukona Chambers to the Ministry of Justice.
Mutti, 58 a lawyer of Lukona Chambers, is in this matter charged with 33 counts of forgery, theft and uttering a false document contrary to the Laws of Zambia.
It is alleged that between January 2002 and June 2013, Mutti, jointly and whilst acting together with other persons unknown and with intent to defraud or deceive, forged a civil servants voluntary seperatees list purporting to show that it was genuinely made and issued by Voluntary Separation Association of Zambia when in fact not.
It is also alleged that Mutti, during the same period, knowingly and fraudulently, uttered a false civil servants voluntary separatees list to the principal registry clerk of the High Court of Zambia.
She is further alleged to have, during the said period but at different intervals, stolen K760,715 and other different amounts of cash at each instance which came to K35 million, the property of the Republic of Zambia.
During trial before Lusaka magistrate Humphrey Chitalu, the state through Raphael Simfukwe, an assistant director at the Public Service Management Division in Lusaka, applied to produce the flash as part of evidence.
But one of Mutti’s lawyers, Sakwiba Sikota, submitted that the necessary foundation had not been laid for the production of the flash to court.
Sikota said Simfukwe informed court about certain information in the flash, which he did not know its source.
“Is it enough for the witness to say it is allegedly coming from Lukona Chambers?” he asked. “He has not told us who alleges this information came from Lukona Chambers and he has not told us when information came from Lukona to the Ministry of Justice.”
Sikota said no one should be allowed to go to court and say they downloaded the information whose source they did not know.
Another lawyer, Professor Patrick Mvunga, argued that there was no evidence linking the alleged Lukona Chambers information to the Ministry of Justice.
“It is just hearsay. There is a serious gap in the link and no effort was made to establish the link. It’s highly assumed. In the premises, the court should reject the admission of the flash,” he submitted.
Dickson Jere added that admitting the flash into evidence without laying proper evidence would be prejudicial to Mutti.
Keith Mweemba said without laying the necessary foundation before the flash disk was admitted, evidence prejudicial to Mutti would be admitted, thereby causing a mistrial.
In reply, the state insisted that it had laid sufficient foundation as required by law for the flash disk to be admitted.
The state said the witness was showing raw materials that would help the court to come up with a just decision.
Magistrate Chitalu adjourned the case to October 19, for continued trial.
By Agness Katongo