THE Lusaka Magistrate’s Court has denied a plea for bail by three Bulgarians facing charges of stealing money through the hacking of Automated Teller Machines (ATM) on grounds that they might flee the country.
Chief Resident Magistrate Joshua Banda, in his ruling after the trio made an application for bail, said this was a proper case where the court could use its discretion to deny bail to suspects because they were foreign nationals facing serious offences, although bailable.
“In this bail application all the accused persons are not resident in Zambia, they face serious charges even if their passports are held by the police, they can still find means of escaping using bush paths or other means, I think this is a proper case for me to deny bail so that justice can prevail,” Mr Banda said.
The trio did, however, not take plea because their lawyers made an application that they intended to raise preliminary issues concerning the indictment which the court granted.
This is in a case in which Milko Stayanova Ketstadinov, 44, Hrito Ivanovdon Kov, 39, and Hassan Alwe Al Batti, 36, are charged with the offence of an authorised access of intercepting data contrary to the Laws of Zambia.
In count two the duo between November 7 2013 and December 11 2013 jointly and whilst acting together did steal K945, 485.97 from Barclays Bank Zambia.
In count two, the trio had in their possession devices for capturing data namely foreign ATM gadgets which are designed primarily to overcome security measures for the protection of data.
In count three, the trio whist acting together without authority or permission intentionally accessed or intercepted data by planting a gadget on the ATM belonging to Barclays Bank Zambia.
And Mr Banda has ordered that the accused persons be subjected to medical examinations after they complained through their lawyers that they developed painful sores all over their bodies which were also itching.
Earlier defence lawyers applied that the magistrate should grants them a cash bail and that they would be able to abide by the conditions the court might set.
But Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) public prosecutor Steven Sumbukeni objected, saying the court that the accused persons had no fixed abode and were a flight risk.
The matter has since been adjourned to January 2 for possible plea.
Two other Bulgarians are also appearing in the Kabwe magistrate’s court facing similar charges.
Times of Zambia