Masumba defence adjourned
Lusaka, March 11,ZANIS —–Defence in the case involving Sports Deputy Minister, Stephen Masumba today failed to kick start its defence as the defence lawyers applied for an adjournment.
In making the adjournment appeal Defence Lawyer Mutakela Lisimba told Lusaka Magistrate Wilfred Muma that the defence team was ready to proceed with three witnesses but that they were not ready to proceed today as the first witness was not present during the courts sitting.
Mr. Lisimba told the court that the defence has come up with a manner in which they want the case to flow, by opening defence with the three witnesses adding that the accused person will be the last person to speak.
He said the said witness was very important in the matter adding that it was necessary that the witness be presented and testify on behalf of the accused person.
Mr. Lisimba told Magistrate Muma that it was the defence teams prayer that an adjournment be granted as it was the first time the defence was asking for an adjournment compared to the state prosecution team which had asked for adjournments on several occasions.
However state prosecutor from the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) Etambuyu Zimba argued that the defence team did not give compelling reasons why the matter should be adjourned.
Mr. Zimba further argued that the accused person is on record stating that he would testify in the matter adding that in that regard the state finds no reason why he should not be the first person to speak followed by other witnesses.
In response to the state prosecutions argument, defence lawyer Lisimba reminded the prosecution team that the court should not worry about anything as the three witnesses are not going to take a long time testifying.
He said according to the defence teams plan, the three witnesses are going to give their testimony in one day.
Mr. Lisimba said justice should not be rushed adding that the constitution is clear on the two choices an accused person can take in defence “either one speaks or decides to keep quite”.
In passing ruling on the Defences application magistrate Muma said it is not the wish of the court to jeopardise the case but ensure that justice prevails.
Magistrate Muma further granted the defence a benefit of doubt and granted them an adjournment based on the argument that it was the defences first time to apply for an adjournment.
He said since the defence team had come up with a particular manner in which they want the case to proceed it was right to adjourn the matter to a later date.
Magistrate Muma has since adjourned the matter to April 9, this year for commencement of defence.
Mr. Masumba, 31, stands charged with one count of offence of obtaining pecuniary advantage through false pretences contrary to section 309a (2) c of the penal code as read with section 41 of the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) Act number 42 of 1996.
It is alleged that Mr. Masumba between December 1, 2005 and August 2008 obtained employment for himself as an Accounting Officer at the Lusaka Business and Technical College (LBTC) using forged documents.