THE Chipata Magistrates’ Court has set November 29, 2019 as judgment day in the matter where a former Chipata Branch Barclays Bank employee Innocent Mbewe is charged with theft of K200,000.
Magistrate Mercy Chabu set the judgment date on Friday after Mbewe who is represented by renowned Lusaka lawyer Kelvin Bwalya Fube finished his defence.
It is alleged that on dates unknown but between February 1 and March 15, 2017, Mbewe jointly and whilst acting together with other persons unknown did steal K200,000, property of Samuel Sakala.
Kelvin Mwanza, a Chipata resident was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment with hard labour on November 30, 2016 for the same offence but was not jointly charged with Mbewe.
In his submissions, Fube said the prosecution called ten witnesses and nine exhibits were brought before court.
He said all the ten prosecution witnesses laboured in vain to connect Mbewe to the monies that were alleged to have been stolen.
Fube said the bank statements demonstrated clearly that there was no relationship between Mbewe’s account and that of Sakala.
He said the only relationship was between Mbewe’s account and that of Shadreck Mbewe’s account.
“Shadreck Mbewe deposited K50,000 to Innocent Mbewe’s account in 2016. Shadreck Mbewe retired from ZESCO and this is the money that he was given as his package,” Fube said.
He said the suspicion from Hussein Khan who was the arresting officer was based on the K50 000 that was found in Mbewe’s account.
“Mbewe’s bank statement has not been denied by any Barclays bank employee. Documentary evidence especially coming from the bank can only be denied by the bank and has not been denied. The prosecution’s case was based on an illusion that Kelvin Mwanza (who was convicted for a similar offence) was related to Mbewe and that they connived,” Fube said.
He said the court record produced by clerk of court, Ferksad Ngoma, in Mwanza’s case did not mention Mbewe as the person he conspired with.
Fube said Mwanza did not mention giving any monies to Mbewe.
He said Khan, who was the arresting officer in both cases did not mention Innocent Mbewe.
Fube said no witness demonstrated any common intent between Mbewe and Mwanza, adding that all they demonstrated were suggestions.
He said the prosecution must prove that Mbewe received stolen money and used it.
“None of the bank staff who were Mbewe’s colleagues indicated that he bought a flash of a laptop or even a spoon or that the lifestyle changed all of a sudden. In the absence of the connection of Mbewe to the case, it is our submission that the State has failed to prove the case. We urge the court to carefully examine the exhibits produced before court. My client has been before this court obediently since his arrest and he is crying to the court to set him free,” Fube said.
He said the only legitimate verdict was to set Mbewe free from the malicious charge, which had haunted him since 2016.
The State will file written submissions while Mbewe will appear for mention on October 7 and November 29, 2019 for judgment.
Mbewe was acquitted by magistrate Lubutwe Hara in the same case but was later re-arrested.