A POLICE officer appearing in court with five others among them two Tanzanians facing four counts of aggravated robbery has died following a short illness in custody.
Joe Akai Hakaanza, who is under the Protective Unit, and has been in prison since August 2012, while appearing in court awaiting the conclusion of the case died on Monday at Kabwe General Hospital where he was admitted.
Both Commissioner of Prisons Percy Chato and Central Province police chief Standwell Lungu separately confirmed.
“I can confirm that a suspect has died in hospital and not in prison as alleged,” Mr Chato said.
Hakaanza, Martin Mulako, a police reservist, Peter Mwanza, Herbert Chitwa Bulundo and two Tanzanians, Steve John Wangamba and Godfrey Mulowe were facing four counts of aggravated robbery.
Particulars of the offence are that the six, on September 12, last year, while armed with offensive weapons, stole K154, 000 and US$5000 from Yahata Saidi Mpemba.
In count two, the six allegedly stole K140, 000 from Rachael Mwampamba, while in count three they are alleged to have stolen K135,000 from Mr Sanga.
In count four, the six allegedly stole several pairs of shoes, t-shirts, children’s dresses, boys’ belts, bottles of perfume, properties of Kasengele Chishimbi. They denied all the charges.
During the last trial hearing of the case, it was prematurely discontinued after the state objected to the use of inmates as interpreters.
When the case came up for the continuation of trial, State Advocate Joseph Akapelwa told then Kabwe High Court In Charge Eddie Sikazwe that the use of remandees as interpreters for Swahili raised serious queries considering that the accused were remanded together at the prison.
Emmanuel Sanga, 22, told Judge Sikazwe that as they were travelling in a bus from Tanzania and got to Kapiri Mposhi, the bus was ambushed after they reached a blocked part on the Great North road.
Mr Sanga said after travelling a few minutes from Mkushi, he noticed that the road had been blocked with stones.
Times of Zambia