AN ACCUSED person who was turned into a State witness in a matter in which six court officials and two businessmen are charged for trafficking in 24 kilogrammes of cocaine has told the court that she found one of the suspects packing substances suspected to be cocaine in newspapers.
In this case, businessmen Eric Chipango, Emmanuel Chimba and court officials Emmanuel Chirwa, Bearvan Mengo, Mathews Mukanda, Victor Nzaila, O’Brian Muyunda and Didie Kangwa, a senior clerk of court, are charged with four counts of trafficking in cocaine and two counts of theft by servant.
The accused persons are also charged with one count of trafficking in 80.11 grams of cocaine without lawful authority and another count of trafficking in 1Kg of cocaine without lawful authority.
Florence Mshota, 36, an accomplice witness was recently discharged under a nolle prosequi and was immediately turned into a state witness.
She was jointly charged with six other court officials with one count of theft by servant where they are alleged to have stolen 24 kilograms of cocaine between August 4, 2017 and August 9, 2018.
Narrating before Magistrate Victoria Chitulangoma, Mushota said during her office hours, she noticed Emmanuel Chirwa frequenting a locker in her office and when she got suspicious, she checked and found six transparent plastic bags that contained a whitish substance labelled 1kg in green marker.
She said later in the same month of August 2017, she found Chirwa and Chimba in her office putting the suspected drugs on newspapers and when she asked what he was doing, Chirwa responded “you should mind your own business”. She said at that time, she did not know the contents of the parcels.
Accordingly, she only realized that the parcels that Chirwa was handling contained cocaine when she was requested to usher the court on behalf of Chirwa in a case of drug trafficking involving Sydney Kapembwa and two others before Magistrate Kennedy Mulife.
She said when trial was done, she accompanied Chirwa to the exhibit room where the cocaine was kept. As the trial continued Ms Mshoka said she received a call from Chirwa using an unknown number instructing her to give the said bag to Mukanda and that they should meet in town.
She said in January 2018, Muyunda approached her and asked if she had received any money after the sale of drugs.
Ms Mshoka said she was not aware and in the first week of January, Chimba walked into her office demanding for K80, 000 refund he claimed to have given Nzaila and Mukanda for drugs after they allegedly failed to supply.
The matter has been adjourned to April 1, 2019 for continuation of trial.