SEVEN people, including warehouse assistants and a driver, have pleaded not guilty to stealing assorted drugs valued at K6,002,446 from Medical Stores Limited. Taking plea before senior resident magistrate Greenwell Malumani on Wednesday, the seven accused persons said they understood the charge but denied committing the offence.
And magistrate Malumani declined to vary bail conditions for four accused persons who have failed to find sureties who are above the position of clerk.
The rest of the accused persons are on police bond.
The allegation in the first count is that Ntambwe Ntambwe and Patrick Elitie on August 20, 2017, in Lusaka, with intent to steal broke and entered a Medical Stores building.
Count two and three allege that Kalaluka Munyandekwa, Paul Bwalya, Ananias Simumba, Moses Sakala and Oliver Chipapala between January 2016 and August 2017 jointly and whilst acting together with other persons unknown, being persons employed as warehouse assistants and driver of Medical Stores Limited, stole assorted medicine valued at K6,002,446.
On Monday, the court issued a bench warrant against one of the accused persons, Sakala, but he showed up on Wednesday. Meanwhile, magistrate Malumani queried Legal Aid lawyer Gladys Kasoma, who represented two of the accused, questioning if she was admitted to the bar. He said the judiciary was scrutinising lawyers because some of them purported to be qualified lawyers.
“Have you been admitted to the bar? Are you employed by Legal Aid? If you are not, then you are not qualified to stand before me,” magistrate Malumani said.
But after Kasoma explained herself, magistrate Malumani allowed her to proceed.
Trial in the matter is expected to commence on October 30.