Lusaka magistrate’s court warns Ronnie Shikapwasha


THE Lusaka magistrate’s court has warned former Information and Broadcasting Services minister Ronnie Shikapwasha against dragging his case by way of requesting for ‘unnecessary’ adjournments.
Magistrate Obister Musukwa has threatened to proceed at the next hearing even in the absence of Shikapwasha’s defence lawyer, Hobday Kabwe.
This is in a matter in which Shikapwasha, 65, who is Keembe Member of Parliament, is jointly charged with freelance journalist Chanda Chimba III, aged 49, and former Information permanent secretary Samson Phiri, 56.
They are facing charges of abuse of authority of office, unlawful printing and possession of property suspected to be proceeds of crime.
The offences were committed between 2010 and 2011.
When the matter came up for continued hearing yesterday, another defence lawyer, Charles Lisita applied to have the case adjourned on grounds that Mr Kabwe was attending to another matter in the High Court.
The matter could equally not proceed on Wednesday because there was an application to have it adjourned as the State prosecutors were attending to another matter.
State prosecutor Martin Mayembe complained to the court yesterday that the matter had kept on dragging for one reason or another.
Mr Mayembe said the State was tired of bringing witnesses to court on taxpayers’ money without making them testify.
He said Mr Kabwe could have endeavoured to find a way of ensuring that the matter took off.
He asked Mr Musukwa to order for the matter to proceed in the absence of Mr Kabwe.
In response, Mr Musukwa said attending cases in the High Court should not be used as the basis for adjourning matters at the subordinate court.
He said all the parties in the matter were aware that yesterday’s date was set some time in December last year, and that it was unfortunate that Mr Kabwe was not before court.
He said even on Wednesday, he did not see the defence lawyers for Phiri and Chimba III and the matter was adjourned.
“The matter keeps on dragging because of one reason or the other. I will grant this last adjournment for accused number one and when the matter comes up next I will proceed without counsel for A1,” Mr Musukwa said.
He said he was supposed to travel out of jurisdiction on February 14, 2014, but that he would not do so in order to make sure that the case proceeds.


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