THE state has entered a nolle prosequi in the matter involving Senior Chief Mukuni’s wife Veronica and four others who stood charged with abduction.
Particulars of the offence are that, Fines Malambo, 46, a businessman; Ackson Sejani, 63, a peasant farmer and former cabinet minister; Vincent Lilanda, 49, who is Mazabuka mayor; Javen Simolooka 45, the Mayor of Choma, and Veronica Mwanakasale Mukuni, 45, wife to Mukuni, were charged with two counts of abduction with intent to confine, contrary to the law.
Allegations in count one were that the five, jointly and whilst acting together, abducted Pheluna Hatembo with intent to cause her to be secretly and wrongfully confined.
In count two, the five were also jointly charged together for abducting Milton Hatembo with intent to cause him to be secretly and wrongfully confined.
When the matter came up for trial before Choma resident magistrate Ethel Phiri, senior public prosecutor Alex Syulikwa informed the court that he was in receipt of instructions from the Director of Public Prosecutions Lillian Siyuni to discontinue the case through a nolle prosequi.
However, the accused through their lawyer Marshal Muchende of M Associates said they were not amused with the outcome.
“The accused would have expected something better, either a withdraw or discontinue as opposed to a nolle. Being law abiding citizens who respect the Constitution and professional independence or autonomy of public prosecution, the accused respect the DPP’s decision as it can’t be questioned,” submitted Muchende. “As counsel for the accused I will wait for instructions from them on the way forward.”
In discharging the case, magistrate Phiri cited the law which empowers the state to do so.
Previously when the matter come up for mention before the August 12 general elections, the court adjourned it to a later date as the State had applied in the High Court to have the matter be heard from Mansa, citing security reasons in Choma.
Despite the defence lawyers and all the accused persons being ready to commence trial, then presiding magistrate Idah Mupemo adjourned the matter to August 26 for mention as the court awaited the ruling of the High Court.