THE Chipata Magistrates’ Court on Monday discharged 11 Chinese who were charged with unlawful cultivation of fresh cannabis plants weighing 6.2 kilogrammes at Eastern Province ZNBC’s construction site near Msekera area. The 11 Chinese are Ten Mao,46 (mechanic), Yu Riping, 41 (assistant manager), Sun Shengzi, 51 (cook), Qiang Xuehua,51 (carpenter),
Huang Hongbing,39 (carpenter), Jia Yinsheng, 50 (carpenter), Kue Yunnai, 51 (carpenter), Tang Zhangechang,24 (engineer), Zhang Yijian, 39 (mechanic) Xu Yihai, 51 (foreman), and Chen Minqiang, 28, a civil engineer. The accused were initially 12 but one of them, Qi Jianlong, was fined K2,000 by magistrate Mercy Chabu in December last year after he pleaded guilty to the charge. When the matter came up on Monday for trial, the State applied that the matter be discontinued due to the fact that one accused person, Qi, admitted the offence thereby leaving the State with no sufficient evidence to proceed against the 11.
The State stated that it needed more evidence and that it was wrong to investigate the matter while the case was still ongoing. Magistrate Chabu granted the State’s application and discharged the accused.
“I have taken into consideration the State’s application and I will allow the application although I am not fully satisfied with the reasons for the withdrawal but based on the fact that the matter requires a further investigation I cannot deny the application,” she said.
Magistrate Chabu also handed back the Chinese their passports. According to facts of the matter presented by public prosecutor Sinjambi Mubita, on December 7, 2018, DEC officers received information to the effect that there was a person who was dealing in psychotropic substances at the ZNBC construction site along Msoro road. Mubita stated that acting on the information DEC officers visited the construction site and found the accused. He stated that Jialong was interviewed by DEC officers who uprooted the cannabis plants that the convicted planted before arresting him.
Jialong paid the fine on the same day while 11 others who pleaded not guilty were granted K5,000 cash bail each.