Ac­quit miss­ing co­caine ‘own­ers’, says lawyer …as State seeks to for­feit ac­cused’s prop­erty

Daily Nation Newspaper - - HOME NEWS - By CHARLES MUSONDA

LUSAKA lawyer Keith Mweemba has asked the court to ac­quit his clients now that the co­caine they were ar­rested for is no longer there.

And the Drug En­force­ment Com­mis­sion (DEC) has filed a no­tice of mo­tion in the Lusaka High Court to ap­ply for a non-con­vic­tion based for­fei­ture of prop­er­ties be­long­ing to first ac­cused Syd­ney Mwansa, on grounds that they are pro­ceeds of crime. Re­cently, Chief Res­i­dent Mag­is­trate Ken­neth Mulife put Mwansa, taxi driver Teddy Matanda, and a Tan­za­nian bus con­duc­tor Shaibu Abi­lahi Likuta on their de­fence for al­legedly traf­fick­ing in 24.19 kilo­grams of co­caine, which has since been swapped, and the ac­cused per­sons were sched­uled to open their de­fence yes­ter­day. How­ever, be­fore de­fence could start, Mr. Mweemba ap­plied to the court to is­sue an or­der for the pur­ported ex­hibits to be sub­jected to a chem­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion and anal­y­sis. He ar­gued that pub­lic an­a­lyst from the Food and Drug Con­trol Lab­o­ra­tory at the Min­istry of Health Marvis Mali Kwenda was not brought to court to tes­tify whether what was brought to court was co­caine. Mr. Mweemba said the af­fi­davit Ms. Kwenda swore, con­firm­ing that the sub­stance was co­caine, was sim­ply re­ceived on prima fa­cie ba­sis and that it was not con­clu­sive ev­i­dence. “There are is­sues in pub­lic do­main and var­i­ous peo­ple in­clud­ing court of­fi­cials have been ar­rested. The ar­rest­ing of­fi­cer told the court that the said drugs have been stolen. In view of the fact that the pub­lic an­a­lyst never came to this court to prove that the drug was co­caine, what ev­i­dence is there that what was left in the cus­tody of the court was co­caine? “Is there ev­i­dence in this court that ac­tu­ally the so called drugs were not swapped long be­fore be­ing brought to court? How are the ac­cused go­ing to open their de­fence when the so called ev­i­dence has dis­ap­peared? Con­tin­u­ing with this trial is highly un­con­sti­tu­tional be­cause the ac­cused are highly prej­u­diced,” Mr. Mweemba said af­ter which the case was ad­journed to next Mon­day for the State to re­spond to his ap­pli­ca­tion. But in the no­tice of mo­tion to ap­ply for a non-con­vic­tion based for­fei­ture filed in the Lusaka High Court yes­ter­day, ar­rest­ing of­fi­cer Jones Si­asamba said in his af­fi­davit in sup­port of the no­tice that the 24 pack­ets were 24.19 kilo­grams of co­caine ac­cord­ing to re­sults of a lab­o­ra­tory test. Mr. Si­asamba said he has rea­son­able be­lief to sus­pect that the prop­er­ties found in Mwansa’s pos­ses­sion, dur­ing his ap­pre­hen­sion, are pro­ceeds of crime be­cause his fi­nan­cial po­si­tion can­not add up to the prop­erty worth K3, 900,000 as per val­u­a­tion re­port. “The same prop­erty and de­vel­op­ments are as a re­sult of money laun­dered to the same from pro­ceeds ob­tained from traf­fick­ing in nar­cotic drugs which is a se­ri­ous crime. Syd­ney Mwansa ac­quired the prop­erty us­ing money de­rived from il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties, which in­clude traf­fick­ing in nar­cotic drugs and psy­chotropic sub­stances. “The prop­erty, in ad­di­tion to it be­ing pro­ceeds of crime, is tainted prop­erty. Be­ing in pos­ses­sion of prop­erty that is rea­son­ably sus­pected to be pro­ceeds of crime is an of­fence,” he said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zambia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.