Witness tells court how he found a loaded gun hidden in a BMW at Mukata’s firm

THE Lusaka High Court has heard that the shooter of the guard at Keith Mukata’s law firm stood face-to-face with the victim.

Mukata, a Lusaka lawyer, and Charmaine Musonda, are alleged to have murdered Namakambwa Kalilakwenda, who was manning AKM Legal Practitioners on May 6.

According to ballistic expert Vincent Chibesa, the person who shot at Kalilakwenda on the material day stood face-to-face with him going by the bullet entry wound.

He, however, said he did not establish the passage of the bullet in the deceased’s body as that was the job of the pathologist, not his.

Asked to compare his report and that of the pathologist, Chibesa said the pathologist’s report looked much into issues of the inside of the body while he was satisfied with what he found after physical examination.

On allegations that the police tampered with the deceased’s body, Chibesa said whatever tampering couldn’t have affected the pathologist’s report because his team could not see the wounds clearly due to blood so they had to remove it.

“This kind of tampering can’t affect the pathologist’s report,” Chibesa said yesterday.

Meanwhile, Mukata’s lawyers Lubinda Linyama and Eric Silwamba asked the court to order a trial within trial after another witness, inspector Marvin Chilufya, 39, an officer-in-charge at Northmead Police Post, who was among the first officers to get to the crime scene at the law firm, said he asked the Chilanga member of parliament whether he was in possession of a firearm after finding an empty cartridge at the scene and he answered in the affirmative.

But Linyama quickly objected to Chilufya’s evidence before the witness gave a full response, saying his testimony on the possession of the firearm could not be on the record because Mukata was not warned and cautioned over it.

He said a statement elicited from an accused without warn and caution was inadmissible.

Silwamba augmented Linyama’s submissions, saying this was a fit case for the court to order trial within trial.

Deputy chief State advocate Mariam Bah Matandala, who was the lead prosecutor, also agreed that the court orders trial within trial so that it could establish whether Mukata gave his response over the possession of the firearm voluntarily.

Judge Susan Wenjelani then rose to go and read the case that was cited before she could make a ruling.

But when court resumed after about 20 minutes, Matandala said after consulting parties in the matter, they had concluded that they would not want to rely on the evidence the witness brought.

She informed the court that Chilufya should continue with his testimony with the exclusion of the statement he wanted to give.

At this point, Silwamba commended the State for their professionalism.

And in his testimony, Chilufya said he was at his home in Emmasdale and was monitoring the police radio when a report of a shooting incidence in Rhodes Park was announced.

The witness said he rushed to Northmead Police Post and mobilised officers that he found there and rushed to the place where the alleged shooting took place.

Chilufya testified that when he arrived at the scene, he discovered that the location was Plot four, Alex Masala road, off Chaholi road in Rhodes Park and that the place was next to Spice Restaurant, a drinking place.

He said he discovered that the plot housed AKM Legal Practitioners owned by Mukata whom he knew as member of parliament for Chilanga Constituency.

Chilufya said he found other officers who rushed to the scene before him and noticed two vehicles, a BMW and a Landcruiser.

He said after searching the premises, he found more vehicles parked behind the offices and later discovered a body that was lying unconscious.

And the court heard how Chilufya discovered the keys to Mukata’s motor vehicle in a flowerbed.

Chilufya said after he discovered an empty cartridge near the BMW, he tried to open the vehicle but it was locked and that when he asked for the keys, he was given those for the Landcruiser.

He said he then went ahead with a thorough search within the vicinity and discovered car keys in a flowerbed, which unlocked the BMW.

“So in the presence of Mr Mukata, I had to search the BMW and came across a handbag which contained assorted personal belongings. Among them were two passports, one which was bearing a size photo for Mukata and another one bearing the name of Charmaine Musonda and a national registration card bearing the name Charmaine Musonda and there was some cash and other personal belongings,” Chilufya said.

He said after a further search of the same motor vehicle, he came across a basket, which had some plates and under it was a firearm, which was black in colour.

The court heard that the firearm contained five rounds of ammunition, which he cleared after he wore a plastic because he did not have gloves and found another bullet that was choked in the chamber.

Chilufya testified further that after searching the BMW, he extended the search to the Landcruiser where he found another magazine, which had a round of ammunition.

He said he then called the Criminal Investigations Officer, detective chief inspector Moyo, whom he told what had transpired and handed over to him the firearm and seven rounds of ammunition.

The witness identified Mukata and Musonda in court.

Hearing continues

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