Layer demands lone trial for Chanda Chimba

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Lusaka Chief Resident Magistrate Joshua Banda has reserved ruling on an application by Defence Lawyer Major Lisita to have Chanda Chiimba III charged alone in the indictment.
Defence lawyer Lisita yesterday applied that Chiimba be charged alone as opposed to the current situation where he is charged with former Information and Broadcasting Services Minister, Ronnie Shikapwasha and former Information and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary, Sam Phiri.
When the matter came up for plea yesterday, Mr Lisita argued that the charges Mr Chiimba is faced with are totally different from the other charges his co-accused were facing.
Mr Lisita, who is representing Mr Chiimba and Dr Phiri, argued that count one, where Gen  Shikapwasha and Dr Phiri are charged with abuse of office of authority does not link Mr Chiimba in any way as it talks about the other two.
He further argued that counts two and five were clearly related but that counts three, four and six were against Mr Chiimba and do not link him in any way.
Mr Lista further said linking his client to the other offences listed on the indictment would be embarrassment during prosecution as he is not linked to them in any way.
However, this application was not well received by the state prosecution team which was lead by Martin Mayembe who argued that there was nothing wrong with charging Mr Chiimba with the other accused persons, adding that when witnesses begin to testify, the defence will   realise the link of the accused persons and their respective charges.
Mr Mayembe told the court that the application by the defence should not be entertained as the state is ready to demonstrate the links, adding that the offences are grounded on the same facts.
In passing ruling, Chief Resident Magistrate, Joshua Banda, said he needed time to analyse the issues raised by the defence lawyer.
Magistrate Banda then directed that the matter to be adjourned to January 30, 2013, for a ruling and possible plea.
He further advised both parties to fill in written submissions before Friday this week.