Friday, January 11, 2013

Chanda Chimba consoles Shikapwasha at court

Chanda Chimba consoles Shikapwasha at court
By Mwala Kalaluka and Salim Dawood
Fri 11 Jan. 2013, 14:00 CAT

RUPIAH Banda's propagandist Chanda Chimba III yesterday encouraged former information minister Lt Gen Ronnie Shikapwasha to be strong when they appeared at court in connection with their alleged diversion of public funds towards MMD propaganda documentaries and publications.

And Lusaka chief resident magistrate Joshua Banda yesterday expressed displeasure at Chimba's failure to get into the dock immediately his case was called by the prosecutors.

Before the matter came up for allocation, Chimba approached Lt Gen Shikapwasha, saying he was glad things had gotten to that stage.
"It shall come to pass, be strong. I have received a lot of calls from people strengthening us," Chimba told Lt Gen Shikapwasha who responded in the affirmative: "Yes, indeed."

This is a matter where Lt Gen Shikapwasha, a 65-year-old MMD member of parliament for Keembe, Chimba, a 48-year-old propagandist and 56-year-old former information permanent secretary Dr Samson Phiri are facing charges relating to MMD propaganda activities in the build up to the MMD's 2011 electoral campaign.

Lt Gen Shikapwasha is in the first count charged with abuse of authority of office and it is alleged that between October 1 and November 31, 2010 being a public service employee as information minister, arbitrarily and in disregard of defamation laws and Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation editorial policy directed ZNBC to broadcast Chimba's Stand Up for Zambia documentary.
The facts stated that this act was prejudicial to the rights of ZNBC, a public body.

Count two is also that of abuse of authority of office and it touches on Lt Gen Shikapwasha's alleged disregard to professional legal advice not to broadcast Stand Up for Zambia on ZNBC between October 1 and 31, 2010 and as a consequence arbitrarily committed the government to pay all liabilities and legal fees emanating from Chimba's broadcasts.
The facts equally stated that this act was prejudicial to the interests of ZNBC and the government.

Dr Phiri is in the third count charged with abuse of authority of office where it is alleged that between June 1 and July 31, 2011, being a public officer as information and broadcasting services permanent secretary, arbitrarily directed ZNBC management to repeat broadcasts of Chimba's documentaries.

Counts four, five and six relate to Chimba's alleged unlawful printing and publication while particulars in the fourth count are that between June 9 and July 28, 2011 in Lusaka, he unlawfully printed and published a newspaper called Stand Up for Zambia, which was not registered with the National Archives of Zambia.

Chimba is in the fifth count charged with an offence similar to that in the previous count and it is alleged that between August 25 and September 26, 2011 in Lusaka he unlawfully printed or published a newspaper called News of our times which was also not registered with the National Archives of Zambia.

The sixth count is of possession of property suspected of being proceeds of a crime and it is alleged that Chimba between June 9 and September 16, 2011 in Lusaka did have in his possession or control an accumulated total of K611, 440,433, which he paid to ZNBC, Zambia Daily Mail Limited respectively, which monies were reasonably suspected to be proceeds of a crime.

In another case, Dr Phiri, 44-year-old former Zambia Daily Mail deputy managing director Davies Mataka, 51-year-old former Afronet executive director Ngande Mwanajiti and the Zambian Newspaper Limited are jointly charged with corrupt acquisition of public property and revenue and unlawful printing and publication.

It is alleged in the first count that Dr Phiri, Mataka and Mwanajiti between April 19 and November 2011 in Lusaka fraudulently and unlawfully diverted K202,696,050 public media support fund from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services for the production of a private newspaper called 'The Zambian'.

It is further alleged in the second count that The Zambian Newspaper Limited, Davies Mataka alias 'John Allan Mugwida' and Ngande Mwanajiti alias 'George Banda' on diverse dates between January 1 and November 1, 2011 in Lusaka unlawfully printed or published a newspaper namely 'The Zambian' without registering it with the National Archives of Zambia.

Magistrate Banda allocated the first matter to senior resident magistrate Mwaka Mikalile's court but it could not proceed into plea due to Dr Phiri's absence and it was adjourned to January 18, 2013.

Magistrate Banda allocated the second matter to principal resident magistrate Aridah Chulu's court but it could also not proceed into plea because magistrate Chulu was unwell and it was adjourned to January 16, 2013.
And magistrate Banda earlier advised the defence lawyers to advise their clients that when they come to court they should not sit outside but come inside.

This was after public prosecutor Martin Mayembe thrice called for Chimba who was outside the courtroom to proceed to the accused dock with Lt Gen Shikapwasha.

"If they come to court, they have to come to court. They can't sit outside. You were calling some names and some were outside. That is not our practice," said magistrate Banda as Chimba hastily walked into the courtroom.

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